COLORADO SPRINGS — We recently showed you all the ways crooks are looking to steal your mail and ultimately your identity. Now, News5 Investigates has learned about a new wrinkle to mail theft that's catching innocent people off guard. You may have heard us mention "informed delivery" where you can sign up to get notifications from the post office and even pictures of what you can expect to arrive in your mailbox each day, but we found out the crooks have found a way to sign up in your name. This allows them to intercept credit cards and checks from right outside your home.
It started with a simple walk to the mailbox.
“And I pulled this out of the mail and it said welcome to informed mail delivery,” said a woman who does not want to use her name after becoming a victim of identity theft.
She says criminals also tried stealing her mail last month.
“On the same day i had some mail i had set aside and when i went to open that mail there was a credit card from Jet Blue," she said.
It's a credit card she says she never applied for. And that letter from the postal service about informed delivery, it's a service she didn't sign up for either.
“And then at that point I said ok there's something going on here,” she replied.
More than 13 million people use informed delivery, which allows you to digitally preview pictures of what's coming to your mailbox through email notifications or a mobile app.
In a statement, the postal service confirms “in a very few cases, an individual's identity has already been compromised by a criminal who then has used it to set up an informed delivery account.”
“Then they are aware of when that credit card may be coming to your mailbox,” said the woman.
Luckily, this woman intercepted the card before thieves did, but Colorado Springs Police Financial Crimes Investigator Joe Matiatos says this is a tactic his unit has seen before.
"We've had cases where they'll do that and then that credit card will get mailed to you even though you didn't apply for it and then the mail thieves are there almost every day checking to see when that credit card comes in and you don't even realize," said Sgt. Matiatos.
Creating a fraudulent informed delivery mail account is illegal. In fact, stealing mail in general is a federal offense that could lead to up to 5 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine. If you know someone who is stealing mail United States postal inspectors say in some cases they'll offer up to a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Investigators suggest you sign up for a United States Postal Service informed delivery mail account before anyone else has the opportunity to do so in your name. If you fall victim to fraud or stolen mail you need to report it online using the USPS website.
To report stolen mail to Postal Inspectors call 1-877-876-2455
For customer service questions in the Colorado Springs area: (719) 266-6033
For all other information visit: https://www.usps.com/