How to prevent thieves from stealing valuables you send in the mail

Despite the proliferation of advanced technology to send electronic messages to others, many people continue to use the U.S. Mail to send their greetings. Whether it’s a wedding announcement, birthday greeting, or offer of condolences, people send cards in the mail to present a special message to a special person. When these messages are accompanied by valuable items, however, the risk of loss is greater than a collection of encouraging words.

Mail offers a tactile keepsake that digital messages simply can’t match. It can be cherished for years to come and easily handed down from one generation to the next. When these messages also include items such as cash or gift cards, the risk of financial loss becomes very real.

Criminals have turned to collection box units (CBU) posted in neighborhoods to generate income. These multi-user mail receptacles offer a convenient way to deliver mail quickly, but they also offer an easier opportunity for criminal dirtbags to obtain the contents of many mailboxes simultaneously and leave the scene of the crime before law enforcement can arrive.

Thieves in this smash and grab scheme tear open the back of a CBU using a crowbar or other brute force instrument. If successful, they clear out everything from the units and sort through them in the privacy of their vehicles or the dark holes from which they crawled.

When you send items such as cash or gift cards in the mail, a criminal targeting the box owned by the recipient of your special message can scoop up the material you sent in the process. Unless the criminal is caught, the items you sent are likely lost forever.

The best way to avoid fueling a criminal’s illegal adventures is to keep valuable items out of their reach. Continue to send greeting cards to those special people in your life, but if you’d like to send a gift card or cash as well, do so digitally.

Many gift card providers offer the ability to purchase gift cards online and have a digital access code transmitted to the recipient via email. To find one, type “egift card” into your favorite web browser. If you’d like to purchase one from a particular merchant, type in that name as well.

Never send cash or gift cards in the mail, or you’ll risk having these valuable items intercepted by criminals salivating at the chance to take them.

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