VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - As the holidays inch closer, many are getting ready to mail gifts but detectives in Ventura County have noticed an uptick in mail theft.
Forgery and Fraud Detective Tim Lohman is investigating hundreds of mail theft cases. Surveillance video showed two men opening hundreds of mailboxes in an apartment complex and steal the mail in a matter of minutes and flee the scene.
Lohman says thieves are able to fashion an arrow key to break into the boxes. He says these thefts increase this time of year as people send checks and gift cards through the mail.
“A check is golden because it contains a routing number,” said Lohman. “The second thing is personal identifying information or anything that can be used to open credit card accounts in your name. Those are golden because suspects use them to commit identity theft.”
Instead of dropping checks off in the mailbox, Detective Lohman suggests sending checks directly online through your bank.
He also says if you must mail a check, it’s best to drop it off at the post office. Stealing mail is a federal offense.
If you think you are a victim of mail theft, contact Postal Inspectors at 877-876-2455.