Approximately 21 million parcels and letters pass through Australia’s postal system every day, but not all of them make it to their destination. Statistics suggest that around four million parcels or letters go missing each week. Much of that theft occurs after delivery because people don’t use a secure mailbox.
From stolen vouchers to identity theft
Stealing mail has become big business for criminal gangs who now actively target mailboxes. They’re after documents that aid identity theft: bank and credit card statements, taxation papers and preapproved credit offers. Petty thieves are after gift vouchers, birthday cards containing cash, membership cards and store cards. Criminals use stolen financial documents for a range of purposes, leaving the victim potentially liable for the debt and having the hard task of recovering their credit rating. It’s often the first step in more sinister operations such as money laundering. Identity fraud costs Australians more than $2 billion a year, with the average cost to a victim of identity theft being $2000. However, accurate measurement is difficult as businesses are reluctant to disclose figures.
Securing your mail
Mail senders can opt for safer, more expensive postal services, but all addressees can do is ensure that once delivered, their mail is secure. The Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Banking Association and the Australian Taxation Office all cite using a secure mailbox as a way of avoiding identity theft. Protection against identity theft goes beyond a secure mailbox: valuable documents, especially if dealt with in large volumes, should be filed in filing cabinet safes, record protection safes or other types of security storage cabinets.
Ultimately, there’s not much you can do about a fraudulent postman. However, once delivered, the post can and should be protected: keep it under lock and key in a secure mailbox, safe from unwanted attention.