The United States Postal Service has made mailing letters easy by placing their blue collection bins on thousands of streets and corners across America, allowing many customers to walk just a few blocks to send off their mail, rather than having to make a trip to the local post office. However, the USPS is now warning would-be mailers that the blue boxes might not be the best option.
In a press release, the USPS explained that the collection bins have become hot spots for criminals looking to steal identities or checks, especially at specific times and on specific days. The agency stated, "The biggest variable enticing these criminals to steal are customers depositing mail into blue collection boxes after the last collection of the day or during Sundays and federal holidays."
So what should customers do? The USPS advises, "If customers simply used retail service or inside wall drop slots to send their U.S. Mail, instead of depositing it to sit outside overnight or through the weekend, blue collection boxes would not be as enticing after business hours to mail thieves for identity theft and check-washing schemes."
In a list of tips, they also suggest, "The most secure way to send mail is through the local Post Office retail counter. If that is not feasible, the next safest way is to use the inside collection slots that deposit mail directly into the Post Office. If using the Postal Service’s outside blue collection boxes, never deposit mail after the last dispatch time. Each box has dispatch times printed on a label, and it will point you to the location for the latest pickup time in your area. Avoid depositing mail during the night, Sundays, and federal holidays."
As for if you happen to see someone who doesn't look like a postal employee rummaging through a collection bin, especially during non-postal work hours, they ask that you report it to your local police or call postal inspectors at 877-876-2455. To incentivize people to that and help curb mail theft, the USPS is offering rewards of up to $10,000 to those whose tips help catch the bad guys.