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Mailbox Security At Home

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

The mailbox used to be something that few homeowners thought about. The stylish yet functional mailbox is now in with security an increasingly sought-after feature.

Today's mailboxes come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. From copper to stainless steel and wall- or post-mounted, there is a mailbox for every home style. Mailboxes can even be customized. Check your local home stores or events or go online to see which style is the right match for you.

Security is now an important feature, too, and many mailboxes have a locking option to help keep mail secure. As a postal inspector explained to me, mail theft can be a big problem, especially in certain areas where methamphetamine use is widespread. Postal theft is a federal crime that the post office takes seriously.

Addicts or other untrustworthy people search for easily accessible mailboxes, scout out the mail delivery schedule and steal the mailbox contents before the homeowner knows what's going on. Checks are especially targeted to get altered and then cashed by these thieves. If you haven't got any mail in several days or just find certain pieces of mail each day, contact your local post office.

Preapproved credit card offers where the homeowner's name is preprinted on the offer are also stolen. The thief completes and mails these offers in using the address where they were stolen. Keeping an eye on the mail delivery, the thief steals the card when it arrives. This is a type of identity theft. The homeowner never knows what happened until collection letters start piling up.

A locked mailbox definitely is more of a deterrent than an unlocked one, though the strongest protection comes from post office boxes. It is suggested that you never leave outgoing mail in the home mailbox, but place it in one of the large blue boxes found outside at post offices and other areas or bring mail into a post office. For those at home during the day, know your delivery schedule and meet the postal carrier at the mailbox for extra security.

Choose a mailbox that fits your needs while providing safety from mail theft. Aside from keeping your mail dry in bad weather, the right mailbox just may save your identity.

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melstein martein

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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