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Mail theft: Fairbanks troopers talk about how to protect yourself

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 5:25 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Mail theft happens all across the country and Fairbanks is no exception. Thieves often use the easy targets to steal valuable items and sensitive personal information.

“Mail theft has been a problem in the Fairbanks area for over 20 years now. It’s something that we have fought to combat but as we change our techniques, the people stealing mail change theirs as well,” said Lieutenant Jess Carson with the Alaska State Troopers.

While troopers do work to catch the thieves, he said there are ways people can help protect their mail, “One thing you can do is get a mailbox that has a lock on it that traps the mail inside and they have to spend a significant amount of time or effort to get in to.”

Carson said that mailboxes that don’t lock get stolen from far more frequently. Beyond the locking personal mailboxes, neighborhoods can also install a locking box for multiple homes. The Post Office also offers post office boxes that are far more secure.

“Anyway that you can get a lock on your mail or get it so you are the only one to have access to it,” Carson said.

Another way to protect yourself is to have sensitive information delivered paperlessly.

“If you were to go paperless that would make it so you don’t have that information in your box for them to steal and they would in essence just get the political or the junk mail,” Carson said.

Apart from protecting personal mail, Carson said that people can help police by reporting suspicious activity to police. He said that anyone who isn’t from the post office and is looking in multiple mailboxes is suspicious. He encouraged people to report that to the police so that they can investigate. He said that information like a license plate, description of the person or vehicle and photo’s or video is also helpful in catching thieves.

Carson also addressed people who find mail dumps, “If you find a pile of mail thrown on the side of the road like somebody has ditched it, it is best to call the post office. They’re the ones responsible for getting the mail, tracking to who it was supposed to go to, and trying to get it there.”

Carson said that for packages stolen from UPS or FedEx to call the troopers.

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