‘Tis the season for mail theft and scams according to Pine County Chief Deputy Steven Blackwell. After reporting a ne’er-do-well in my own mailbox last Sunday, a follow-up phone call with Blackwell provided some helpful information for rural residents in foiling the grinches who wish to steal Christmas.
“Pay attention and remove the opportunity,” are Blackwell’s words of advice to prevent becoming a victim of theft, either of money, gifts or even one’s identity.
During the holidays, he says, thieves are searching mail for gift cards and cash in Christmas cards and packages. “If you know you won’t be home [to receive mail], get a neighbor to collect your mail,” Blackwell advised. Sometimes thieves will follow half an hour behind a mail route. “UPS people are aware,” he said. “Call 911 if you have vehicle information or other tips related to these types of thefts,” Blackwell said.
Thieves are looking year-round for prescription medications being delivered to homes as well as pre-approved credit card offers. Coupled with personal information found in utility and other bills, Blackwell said thieves will try to open a credit card account in your name and run up charges.
Blackwell said scams target the elderly all year long. “If someone’s asking you to put out money to get money, that’s a scam,” Blackwell warned.