A ‘spike’ in mail theft, Langley RCMP warn

A ‘spike’ in mail theft, Langley RCMP warn

Incidents are up 158 per cent

There has been a spike in mail theft in Langley, RCMP have warned.

So far in 2020, there have been 152 reported thefts.

Over the same time last year, there were a total of 59 cases, a 158 per cent increase year-over-year.

In Langley City alone, the spike in mail theft since last year is 475 per cent, police stats show.

Thieves are taking mail from apartment complexes and community mailboxes both in the City and the Township.

Mail thieves tend to search for cheques or credit cards and this behaviour is a precursor to the more serious identity theft.

Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy said an increase in mail theft around tax time is not unheard of, but this year, with COVID-19 making many aspects of life very different, the increase is much steeper than in other years. With the extension given for filing income tax, it’s a “good possibility” this behaviour will continue longer than years prior., Largy warned.

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Documents arriving by mail this time of year can include a treasure trove of sensitive information like social insurance numbers, birth dates, driver’s licence numbers, bank account numbers, signatures and PIN codes.

“[Thieves] can open new bank accounts and transfer funds out of your legitimate accounts, rack up charges on your credit cards or apply for new ones, apply for loans, credit lines or government benefits, and they can even apply for a passport in your name,” Largy said.

“That can be an enormous nightmare for people.”

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But, she added, residents can take extra precautions to deter identity theft including checking the mail at least daily, avoiding having packages arrive at your home when you won’t be there to receive them, making sure banks are aware as soon as you’ve had a change of address, shredding old documents instead of just recycling them, contacting senders if an expected piece of mail never arrives, and never letting strangers follow you into your apartment lobby or parkade.

Anyone with information about the mail thefts is asked to contact Langley RCMP.

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