Thieves are allegedly targeting community mailboxes looking to rob them of packages, cheques, and financial documents they can use to steal identities.
Toronto police have charged three men in connection with a slew of mailbox thefts, after finding a large quantity of stolen mail, financial and government documents, and tools.
“Mail theft is an ongoing issue, but what we are seeing now is the theft of mail from community mailboxes,” said Insp. Paul Rinkoff, with Toronto Police Services’ Financial Crimes Unit.
A Mississauga woman is frustrated, saying her mailbox was broken into on almost a daily basis for the past three months.
Corinne Clifton said she has had to pay to redirect her mail to keep it from being stolen.
“Mine has been hit several times, and my other neighbours have had theirs hit as well. They are typically looking to steal cheques and packages, but they also are taking financial information, credit and investment information,” said Clifton.
Clifton said she is worried her identity will be stolen.
“I have had to have my mail forwarded to a friend’s house at a cost of $100. Equifax called and said people are trying to take out credit cards in my name,” she added.
Lisa Liu, a spokesperson for Canada Post, said in a statement to CTV News Toronto, “We can confirm that this community mailbox site has been vandalized over the past several weeks. Our Security and Investigation team is aware, and local law enforcement is currently investigating. As these incidents are being investigated, it would be inappropriate to comment further or provide details. We take these matters and the security of the mail very seriously.”
“If you are a victim of identity theft and items are taken from your mailbox, make sure you report it to the financial issuer (bank or credit card company) and the police,” Rinkoff said.
Clifton is frustrated that despite her and her neighbours’ complaints to Canada Post, the problem continues.
“When we contact Canada Post, it’s basically crickets. They pass the buck and say they will pass on the information,” said Clifton.
Liu said Canada Post is going to upgrade Clifton’s community mailbox to a newer model sometime this spring, as part of its normal operations to review its equipment to customers.
“This is an ongoing project across the country. More information will be provided closer to the installation date,” Liu said.
The newer mailbox may be more secure, but until then, Clifton and her neighbours fear their current mailbox remains a target for thieves.
Anyone who believes they have not received a parcel should contact Canada Post’s Customer Service so that we can look into it and potentially work with the sender, who may initiate a claim with Canada Post. If customers believe they have not received a specific piece of letter mail, they should also contact the sender.