Identity thieves still using old school mailbox theft in Arizona - CBS 5 - KPHO

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Identity thieves still using old school mailbox theft in Arizona

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GILBERT, AZ (CBS5) -

A Gilbert man is concerned about identity theft after personal checks were stolen from his mailbox. Leaving outgoing mail in your box is convenient, but a practice you should avoid.

Identity theft is a huge problem nationwide and here in Arizona and much of it occurs online. But up to five percent of this crime still happens the old-fashioned way, through the theft of your personal documents.

"Someone came by and took them out of here (my mailbox)," Matt Meier said.

Meier says he doesn't use postal mailboxes for his outgoing mail, he leaves it all in his own mailbox for the Postman to take.

"Never thought a thing about it being unsafe," Meier said.

Not until he got a call from Gilbert Police. Meier says he was told two of his personal checks, one for his mortgage made out and mailed to Chase, and one made out and mailed to Commerce Bank for his credit card, ended up in someone's personal account at a Navy Federal Credit Union in Mesa.

"They've not contacted me at all, they've not given me any information, all the information I've received has been from the police," Meier said.

Meier says police told him the checks, totaling nearly $3,300, were endorsed and deposited into the ATM at the Navy Federal Credit Union branch in Mesa. Meier says, even though they have his money, Navy Federal Credit Union won't let him speak to their fraud department because he's not a member.

"Please help. Please contact me, please work with me, this seems very straight forward that this was fraud and I'm out a significant amount of money," Meier said.

Meier now realizes that the convenience of leaving outgoing mail, especially bills, in your own mailbox isn't worth the risk.

"I don't mail any mail from my mailbox anymore, it's not safe. There's so much attention to online identity theft, but taking somebody's mail is a lot easier," Meier said.

Mesa Police says its investigation in this case is on-going and Navy Federal Credit Union tells CBS 5 News that they are also conducting their own investigation. Meier hopes to have his money back in his account in 60 days.

Remember, never put outgoing checks in your mailbox, ever. If going to a blue USPS mailbox is inconvenient, set up bill-pay online with your bank. All you do is provide the name and address and your bank mails out a check for you.

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