Watch Your Mailbox -
It's Ripe for Theft!

After receiving the following email, I called our local Police and was told that this is not a problem here in Naperville. Illinois (a very affluent community). But the cop added, "This is not to say that it doesn't happen occasionally." A word to the wise. . .  -  Barbara

"A couple of weeks ago my husband put the outgoing bills in our mail box on our front porch. He always keeps an eye on them and thought he saw the mailman pick them up. Now we both vaguely seem to think we could have heard someone running up on the porch and down again and have decided that vague feeling was real. This week we got two bills stating we missed our last payment. The first time he called the banks involved and the check hadn't shown up at either so he did a stop payment and reissued a check. Saturday we got another notice. I called the company and they suggested calling the Post Office.

"I talked to the Seattle Postal Police and they told me a couple of missing checks would mean the letters were lost in a crack some place. Ten meant they were stolen. Checked with the bank. None have been cashed. Stolen. Personal account numbers, checks, etc., all in the wrong person's hands. Called the Portland Police to report it and they said it is epidemic, that people case houses for when mail is put out. It is something we had heard but didn't think we needed to be overly concerned. We are praying for a good end to the matter but are progressing on the assumption it will at least mean changing some account numbers, stopping more checks and re-issuing them. And on Wednesday I will be able to get a Police Report Number." - Kathy Roush, Artist

Editor's Note: After I responded to Kathy's e-mail, she added:

"My husband is very regular and methodical in his habits of bill paying so it was easy to pick our house. Also we have a cute black box. Accented with the clean white envelopes, they are easily noticed. When you are in a rural area it would be difficult to do a run to the Post Office. Awhile back, I heard they were even targeting the corner drop boxes. We are more in the city than we used to be or want to admit. Lots of local farm land has been built on. We do have a truck farm down the street from us so the illusion of being in the country is hard for me to shake.

"Our bank - a credit union - is not charging us for stopping the checks because they were stolen. I don't expect this standard for all banks, though. I did spend many hours yesterday talking to the people on my list of payees. We are opening a new bank account, have to get new checks after just getting new ones, transfer funds and close the bank account. Fortunately we have another bank we can use in the meantime, but charge accounts still have to be closed and re-opened, and checks re-issued."

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