THIEVES are targeting letterboxes in high density unit complexes searching for driver’s licences and membership cards that can be used to provide 100 point identification for short term or credit loans.
Kensington officer in charge Adrian Maughan said police had recently charged several people with possessing items stolen from or believed to be stolen from mailboxes across the metro area.
“Although there is a tendency for people to concentrate on online fraud and scams, there has been a slow increase with people becoming more aware of identity theft through stolen hard copy documents,” he said.
“We receive on average one report each month from members of the public.
“But in my experience the majority of mail theft in this district are identified through police-initiated action and investigation of known offenders.”
Acting Snr Sgt Maughan said there had been an increase in residents’ reporting mail theft however most charges had arisen from police investigations for unrelated matters.
“Mail theft usually occurs in the vicinity of high density living such as unit complexes where there is a collection of mail boxes such as in South Perth and Como,” he said.
“Thieves are looking for driver’s license or membership cards that can be used to provide 100 point identification to obtain short term or credit loans using a stolen identity.”
Acting Snr Sgt Maughan urged residents to take steps to protect their letterboxes from mail theft.
“Residents should check mail daily, purchase a secure, lockable mail box, have a neighbour collect your mail if you are away, consider electronic statements through secure banking sites and when possible collect identification documents in person,” he said.
“If mail has not arrived when expected contact the organisation you requested it from to check if it was sent.
“Report any suspicious behaviour to Crime Stoppers as this is a direct avenue of information to police.
“Information in social media is varied and often lost and unusable due to the hundreds of chat groups online.
“The sooner we access information the sooner we can act to secure valuable evidence and prevent secondary crimes from occurring.”
An Australia Post spokesman said mail that was tampered with or went missing from a resident’s property after it had been delivered was a criminal matter and customers should immediately report the theft to the police.
“We urge customers to be vigilant to ensure their mail is secure and recommend residents use letterboxes that feature a mail slot wide enough to fit their mail through, but not so large that a hand can reach inside, secure their letterbox is fastened with a sturdy lock, and clear their mail frequently,” he said.
“Customers concerned about mail security can also opt to use a PO Box or have tracking and signature on delivery added to their delivery.”