Mail Theft, the Number One White Collar Crime

Mar 22, 2009

You might not know this, but when you find out the reasons for mail theft being about the number one white-collar crime, you’ll understand why. One in three cases of identity theft happens when mail is stolen.

You’d think with all the postal security in place in the U.S., there would not be any way someone could just coolly walk off with all sorts of mail containing people’s personal information. Security aside, it is rather difficult to track and keep over 668 million pieces of mail daily. Yes, daily. That is a lot of mail sent from one end of the country to the other and back again. Honestly, most of it does get to where it is supposed to go, but unfortunately some of it is lost prior to delivery.

Just last year it appears the mail theft business was a busy one, as U.S. Postal Inspectors managed to arrest over 6,000 suspects. Many of these suspects were accused of pilfering mail right off the postal trucks, out of collection boxes, right out of apartment mailbox panels, neighborhood delivery/collection boxes, etc.

Theft of U.S. mail happens in a blink of an eye and in a manner which most people would not pay attention. For instance, it only takes a split second to briskly walk up someone’s driveway, open the mailbox, swipe the mail and leave, with a handful of things like credit card statements, utility bills, loan applications and bank statements. There goes your identity.

What do you do to put a stop to this white-collar crime? Well, step number one is putting a lock on your mailbox; a total pain, but worth it if it prevents someone from stealing your identity and messing up your credit history. Make sure the lock box is sturdy and designed to prevent theft, otherwise a patient thief will only take a few seconds to get it open.

While it may sound hilarious and border a bit on the ridiculous, your mailbox is now almost as important as Fort Knox, with about the same level of protection in the newer boxes. They’re now being made in solid weatherproof material, are welded together instead of using pop rivets, and are tamper and wrench proof. Now that’s a mailbox. Short of the thief taking the whole mailbox (and it has happened) your mail should be relatively secure in one of these newer security conscious models.

Step number two is to take all outgoing mail to a postal drop box yourself. Don’t leave it in the mailbox for the postman to pick up. These are small things that may make a huge difference in whether or not you have your mail pinched, a theft you would rather not happen, as it takes approximately 44 months to recover from having your identity stolen.

Daniel Wannamaker is a board certified criminal law specialist and has 24 years of criminal trial experience with proven results as a Dallas criminal defense lawyer practicing in Austin criminal defense and Houston Texas. To learn more, visit

Dallas criminal defense lawyer, Houston criminal defense lawyer, Austin criminal defense lawyer.