Identity scammers are using fake mailboxes to “harvest” householders’ mail and then using the stolen details to gain credit.
The fake letterboxes are attached to the exterior of properties to fool postal workers and are then removed before residents notice their presence.
The fraudsters then use personal information gleaned from the stolen letters to open up lines of credit with banks and other finance providers.
An increase in cases has been reported by Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.
Manchester in particular has seen a spike in incidents but householders around the country are being warned to be on the lookout for the fake boxes or any physical signs of one having been recently installed and removed.
One Manchester resident said that she opened up a fake mailbox on her doorstep to find a letter addressed to her husband from TSB bank. The letter confirmed a £1,000 overdraft agreement, despite the couple never having banked with TSB.
Action Fraud has issued a series of guidelines to protect yourself from such a scam:
Be vigilant and check for any suspicious activity, tampering of your post/letterbox or for suspicious glue markings on the wall.
Check all post received from financial institutions, even if they appear unsolicited.
Consider reporting theft of mail to your local police force and any cases of identity fraud to Action Fraud.
If you have been a victim of identity fraud consider Cifas Protection Registration.
If you, or anyone you know, has been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or using the online reporting tool.