Investigation underway after reports of mail theft

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – The United States Postal Inspector is investigating a Baton Rouge post office after reporting that someone stole mail from outside mailboxes.

Christine Wilson dropped off bills at the Government Street post office in Baton Rouge. They totaled nearly $4,000 to pay his car insurance, hydro and credit card bills.

She dropped them off at the mailbox outside the post office. Two weeks later, his bills were still unpaid and his accounts were racking up late fees.

“I went to the post office,” says Wilson. “I asked the supervisor, we are missing five checks. Was there an incident?

Wilson says the supervisor told him they had received reports that someone had stolen checks from outside mailboxes. Post office staff are working with the postal inspector to determine next steps.

“I still write cheques, like most older retirees do. So I think that’s a situation that people in that area need to be aware of,” Wilson says.

At Wilson’s age, she says she’s more comfortable writing checks than going through an online payment portal. However, consumer protection agencies warn against people trying to steal other people’s money and identities by taking information found on paper checks.

“I always say that if they’re going to rob an ATM, a mailbox is just an easier robbery,” says Carmen Million, president of the Better Business Bureau.

Million says there are things people can do to protect their personal information on checks, like hand-delivering their mail inside the post office and keeping an eye on their bank account to see if the checks are cleared.

“Consider if you are going to pay with a check. Check who you are ordering your checks from and see what kind of protections they have, additional protections to prevent your checks from being easily cashed,” adds Million.

WAFB contacted the postal inspection service. They tell us it’s best to drop the mail in the USPS box right before the postman comes to pick it up. The collection time is printed on all outdoor post office boxes. The agency says the longer your mail sits in a mailbox, the more likely it is to be stolen.

The Postal Inspection Service is working with law enforcement to ensure this theft does not happen again.

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