Brooksville, Florida -- They could be anywhere. Lurking somewhere near your home. Waiting to violate your most sensitive correspondence. Thieves are stealing mail from mailboxes in Hernando County with sinister intent.
"They're looking for credit cards, checks, bank information, and they're using that information to steal identities," said Hernando County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Denise Maloney.
Multiple victims contacted the Hernando County Sheriff's Office recently saying they were ripped off. The news traveled fast in Brooksville, and it made some residents very concerned.
"I had just applied online to get a bank account and was quite nervous that someone might get that information and what was done with it. Today, I did get the PIN number and account information, but not the card. So, I'll wait a few more days before I make a call to see if I get it," said one Brooksville resident.
One resident we spoke with, a 90-year-old man, didn't know about the mail thefts, so 10 News told him. His reaction? "Well, I'm gonna watch my mailbox real close," he said.
Ironically, he received a credit card statement in his mailbox today.
"Well, I get a lot of stuff through the mail, and I can't have anybody seeing it," he continued.
Cops say protect yourself by not leaving mail in your mailbox for a long period of time, and don't place mail you want to send in your box either. It's a red flag.
Here's what can you do to keep your mail out of the hands of thieves.
- First, do not store outgoing mail in your mailbox overnight.
- Drop off any important mail at the post office or community mailbox.
- Check your mail daily and bring all items into your house.
- Since the majority of mailbox vandalism and theft happens overnight or in secluded areas. You can invest in outside security lights for your front yard.
- Regularly inspect your mailbox for any damage.
- If you believe you have been a victim of mailbox theft, vandalism or tampering, contact your local law enforcement agency and the United States Postal Service immediately.
- You can also buy a locked mailbox, but there are requirements. http://faq.usps.com/adaptivedesktop/faq.jsp?ef=USPSFAQ
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