A reader who lives on East Alta Vista in the East Highlands sent an urgent message yesterday saying that thieves had deposited a bunch of empty envelopes and other mail remnants in her mailbox over the last several days.
The emptied envelopes bear addresses on Crothers Road and Alta Vista Way and even show evidence of hand-delivered cards and goodies being removed from mailboxes and sullied. NNV’s personal experience with mail theft has been that the cretins who prey on other people’s mail don’t just hit and run – they may hang around for months!
So, what should we be doing at this point? Watch for strangers in the neighborhood – on foot or on wheels. Call 911 if you see anyone suspicious. (Don’t confront a potential criminal.) Don’t put any mail out for the mailman to take. Clear out your mailbox just as soon as possible after the mail is delivered, or, better yet, have any important mail such as checks delivered to your work address or establish a post office box. Have your boxes of new checks delivered to your bank branch and pick them up there. Install a locking mailbox.
For the moment, you might want to keep a close eye out for indications of stolen mail – notices arriving that payments on an account are overdue, for example. It may take weeks before the evidence is in so you might do some checking to be sure why anticipated checks seem to be delayed. If you find out that you’ve been hit, make a report to the Sheriff or Police and contact the credit reporting agencies. You might be able to nip identity theft in the bud. Click here to read Ed Allegretti’s personal account of what may happen if your identity is stolen, followed by Abaan Abu-Shumay’s great advice.
Click here to read what Sheriff Laurie Smith wrote to NNV on this subject – and here for the Sheriff’s Web site page on Identity Theft.
Sorry to put a damper on this holiday season, but the thieves have no concern for your peace of mind or the sanctity of the U.S. Mail. NNV does care deeply and hopes this message might prevent more havoc.
Best wishes for 2004. Let’s hope the bad guys get caught and faith in our fellow man can be restored in the New Year.
Watch our Letters to the Editor page for responses to this alert. That’s how we’ll know if this is just an isolated incident or a more widespread problem. If you’d like to write something for our Letters page, send an e-mail to JudyET@NNVESJ.org and put "Letter to the Editor" in the Subject line. Please include your name and phone number in case we have questions.
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Watch for the next edition of NNV in early February.
New Neighborhood Voice
Copyright© 2003, 2004 by Judy Thompson. All rights reserved. Updated 1/7/04.