An ongoing rash of mail thefts in Summerland and around the Okanagan Valley should have residents concerned.
Since mid-December, community mailboxes around the community have been pried open and mail has been taken.
If the thefts were nothing more than the loss of cash sent through the mail, they would be little more than an annoyance.
Mail theft is a much more serious issue because of the information at risk.
Government documents such as passports and driver’s licences are sent through the mail. Credit cards and debit cards are mailed to account holders.
And many have their bank statements, credit card bills and other financial documents sent by mail.
Using this information, as well as information in various bills, a thief may be able to access bank accounts, run up credit card charges, apply for loans or transfer money using their victims’ names.
Identity theft is a serious matter and those targeted can spend months working to undo the damages.
Police in Summerland and elsewhere in the Okanagan have been investigating the recent rash of mail thefts and charges are expected.
The most important approach however is to ensure the thefts do not occur in the first place.
Police urge everyone with a community mailbox to check their mail daily.
For those who go away for the winter, it is wise to have all mail held at the post office, not delivered and left to sit in the mailbox.
And, as is the case with any crimes, those who see suspicious activity should report it to the police.
The theft of mail is a potentially serious matter. Preventing it from happening is far easier than dealing with the fallout after one’s personal identity has been compromised.