The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is reminding the public that they should be careful when mailing cards and gifts over the holiday season.
Americans should be wary of the times they put important mail into blue U.S. Postal Service (USPS) collection mailboxes, according to the law enforcement arm of the national mail service.
“Deposit outgoing mail into blue collection boxes before the final pick up of the same day of deposit,” a spokesperson for the USPIS told Fox News Digital.
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“Check the pick-up schedule posted on the box to ensure your mail will not sit in the box overnight or over the weekend; and use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier,” the agency’s statement continued.
The USPIS noted that the federal mail system is one of the “safest and most trusted ways” to send gifts and greeting cards to family and friends.
Though, the agency told Fox News Digital that it encourages all customers to follow mail theft prevention tips offered by the USPIS to safeguard mailed letters and gifts.
The USPS reportedly delivers mail to more than 100 million addresses, according to the USPIS.
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A local Postal Inspection Service office wrote in a recent press announcement that criminals tend to target collection mailboxes “after the last collection of the day or during Sundays and federal holidays.”
“If customers simply used retail service or inside wall drop slots to send their U.S. Mail, instead of depositing it to sit outside overnight or through the weekend, blue collection boxes would not be as enticing after business hours to mail thieves for identity theft and check-washing schemes,” the local mail inspection office wrote.
In a “Neighborhood Watch: Protect Your Mail!” flyer issued by the USPIS, Americans who feel they can’t trust the collection mailbox in the area they live in are advised to place mail in a collection mailbox in another area or use a secure mail receptacle at their place of business.
Suspicious activity, mail or identity theft, fraud, and seemingly tampered mailboxes that have glue, tape or a sticky substance attached to it should be reported to the USPIS, the agency’s flyer says.
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The USPIS can be contacted by phone through its national hotline at 877-876-2455.
Other mail theft prevention tips the USPIS offers customers include picking up mail promptly and not letting it sit in mailboxes overnight and contacting issuing agencies right away if important or valuable aren’t received as expected – such as checks, credit cards or negotiable items.
The USPIS says customers should notify the postal service if they change their address or are going away on a trip and need their mail held at a facility until they return. The agency also advises against mailing cash.
USPS customers have the option to sign up for the postal service’s Informed Delivery notification service, which sends daily email notifications of incoming mail and packages.
The USPIS reportedly investigates and arrests thousands of mail thieves each year, according to a “Mail & Package Theft” page on the agency’s website.
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