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503-635-5777
Riverdale Dunthorpe Patrol
P.O. Box 532 Lake Oswego, OR 97034
Let's Talk about your Security Needs

Locking Mailboxes vs. Identity Theft

Do you have a locking mailbox?

Two recent incidents involving mail theft are prompting me to write this email.

1. While on night patrol in early December, I (unknowingly at the time) interrupted criminals that were breaking into mailboxes. We discovered the next morning that a series of eight mailboxes had been pried open. While the mailboxes were damaged, the theft of mail was minimized because the incident occurred overnight from a Sunday to Monday morning. Most of the victims had already removed the mail after delivery on Saturday.

2. This week, I was notified by a resident that someone was using her credit card number to purchase items from an online store. The items were delivered to her home where the criminal could retrieve the package from the porch. By having the items delivered to her billing address, the criminal was able to bypass one of the credit card anti-fraud measures. She believes the criminal originally obtained her credit card number by stealing her account statement from her mailbox.

Many of you have heard me recommend the use of locking mailboxes and some of you have replaced your standard mailbox with a more secure version. I believe that locking mailboxes are the most cost-effective measure to protect you from identity theft. They vary in cost from around $50 for plastic mailboxes that are only slightly better than a standard non-locking to around $500 for a large and very secure metal mailbox with thick metal walls. Compare the price of the mailbox with the amount of time and hassle you will face if someone uses your identity to open bank accounts or fraudulently use one of your accounts. Also consider how much the added peace of mind is worth.

When I talk to people about replacing their mailbox with a locking version, I typically hear three reservations. The first is the cost. I hope the above argument is enough to persuade you that the risk of mail theft is higher than the cost of the mailbox. The second reservation revolves around keeping your existing mailbox because your mailbox is located next to your neighbor’s mailbox and the existing mailboxes match. Of course, I believe everyone should have a locking mailbox, so the hard part will be getting a consensus from all the involved neighbors on which style of locking mailbox to purchase. If that is not possible, it is more important to secure your mail than it is to have matching mailboxes. The third problem people encounter is that their non-locking mailbox is mounted inside a brick or mortar pillar near their driveway. It is possible to & a few of my clients have replaced their mailbox while preserving the look of the pillar.

I am sure there are several vendors that make locking mailboxes (and I don't have a relationship with any of them), but here are the web sites and phone numbers of the two brands predominately used in the neighborhood.

http://www.fortknoxmailbox.com/ in Grants Pass, OR – (800) 206-8067

http://www.mbsx.com/ in Tualatin, OR - (800) 630-3344

Another site with several styles of locking mailboxes is http://www.mailboxes4less.com in Torrence, CA - (800) 634-5475.

I know it is inconvenient to replace your mailbox, but I hope you consider the change. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.

Thanks,
Kris