Benton County Sheriff’s Office sees increase in mail thefts leading to identity theft

A rash of mail and package thefts swept through the Tri-Cities in December as people received presents and Christmas cards.
Now even though the holidays are over, the consequences can still be felt through identity theft.
Sergeant Bob Brockman with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office says, “In the people’s mail are credit card applications, billing statements, and items like that that they’re able to glean enough information from to make false identities or assume the person’s identity.”
Sgt. Brockman says the sheriff’s office has seen an increase in mail thefts leading to identity theft.
Deputies investigated three different identity-mail theft cases in December, two of which took place in the Reata Road and Dallas Road areas.
One of the signs thieves look for when scouting out boxes are the mail box flags.
“A lot of times having the red flag up lets the mail postal service know that you have mail going out and a lot of those are billing statements that have checks in them.”
Sgt. Brockman says some ways people can reduce their risk of having their mail stolen is to lock up their mail, either by buying an individual locked mail box or setting up a community mail box through the post office if they live an area with lots of people nearby.
“Anytime you can make it more difficult for the thief, they will move on to something simpler,” he adds.
If you think you’re a victim of identity theft, Brockman says to contact law enforcement to get an investigation started.
In addition, get a hold of your bank and check your credit score.


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