Who’s Watching Your Mail?
Bottom Line: The threat of the porch pirate is nothing new. And given our proclivity to order more than ever before – it stands to reason more’s being stolen than ever before. But that’s not the only delivery threat to beware of. What isn’t new, in fact we’re getting less of it than ever before, traditional mail – is the fastest growing target of delivery related theft. According to the latest reporting from the USPS – in their annual Mail Fraud and Mail Theft report, a record 299,020 complaints of theft and 40,727 cases of fraud were verified by the USPS. How significant is that number?
It’s an increase of 161% over the prior year. Anytime you have something as established as mail delivery and experience a 161% increase in theft and fraud year-over-year – you know there’s something more to the story. It’s clear there are criminal campaigns targeting our mail. And what was driving the huge increase in fraud? Evidence from the USPS suggests the knowledge of pandemic related checks being in mail was a big contributing factor. But even then, only 17% of the theft and fraud was specific to CARES Act and pandemic related checks.
What appears to be happening is increased crime of opportunity. With more porch pirates targeting more homes than ever before, because of more packages being delivered than ever before – mail’s a good secondary crime of opportunity for the evil-doers. Of course, unlike most package delivery, we may not know we’ve been a victim of mail theft or fraud for quite some time if we’re not necessarily expecting specific items. For that matter, most mail theft and fraud isn’t believed to be reported because many victims aren’t really aware of how they became victims of various financial fraud, identity theft, etc. The takeaway is this. Just as we need to be especially careful with package delivery these days, we need to be mindful of mail delivery as well. This might include opting for a mailbox with a lock and key if you don’t have one already.