Mail Theft Law & Legal Definition


Mail theft occurs when thieves steal mail that is not their own from postal trucks, collection boxes, apartment mailbox panels, co-op mailing racks, and neighborhood delivery and collection box units. Thieves often steal mail to obtain credit cards, social security numbers, bank statements, checks, and other personal information.

Mail and identity theft has been reported by postal inspectors to be the #1 white-collar crime in the U.S today. Some of the steps recommended to prevent mail theft, among others, include not leaving mail in the mailbox overnight, having the post office hold mail while you're out of town, and not sending cash in the mail, not leaving bils in your mail box for the mail carrier to pick up, and immediately notifying your post office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail if you change your address.

The following is a federal statute governing mail theft:

Section 1702.

Obstruction of correspondence

Whoever takes any letter, postal card, or package out of any post office or any authorized depository for mail matter, or from any letter or mail carrier, or which has been in any post office or authorized depository, or in the custody of any letter or mail carrier, before it has been delivered to the person to whom it was directed, with design to obstruct the correspondence, or to pry into the business or secrets of another, or opens, secretes, embezzles, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.