The theft of mail is on the rise again in the metro area, including the South Lake Minnetonka cities of Excelsior, Greenwood, Shorewood and Tonka Bay. Thieves steal mail and use the documents they take to also steal your identity. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps each homeowner can take to help protect themselves.
- Do not use your mailbox for outgoing mail. It is a common practice for thieves to drive around neighborhoods looking for the upright flag on the side of the mailbox. While it is true that this flag is used to notify your mail carrier that you have outgoing mail, it is also known as the “steal me flag” because it is an indicator for thieves that there is mail in the mailbox. The SLMPD suggests taking your outgoing mail to the post office or use the designated blue postal mailbox at various locations.
- Avoid leaving your incoming mail in your mailbox. Another tactic by thieves is to drive neighborhoods after the mail carrier has delivered the mail, and steal items in your mailbox. If possible, the SLMPD suggests collecting your mail as soon as possible after it is delivered. We also suggest having a new order of blank checks delivered directly to your bank instead of to your mailbox.
- Temporarily stopping the delivery of your mail. If you know you are going to be gone on vacation or away from home for a few days, the SLMPD suggests you contact the post office and temporarily stop delivery of your mail.
- Lockable mailboxes. Lockable mailboxes are available for purchase at home improvement stores. This type of mailbox allows you to secure incoming mail for daily deliveries. The SLMPD still suggests stopping your mail if you can not collect your mail daily.
For more information about mail theft, please go to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service website and click on the various informational links. Please contact the SLMPD to report any suspicious activity or if you have additional questions.