The rate of junk mail filling our mailboxes tends to rapidly increase during periods like Christmas and Easter. These range from chocolate catalogs to credit card applications, and will tend to get in the way of other types of increased mail such as bills and letters from family and friends.
If the fact that this is annoying isn't enough, such a pile-up is also incredibly dangerous. Amongst those bits and pieces of paper are all sorts of personal information about you, and to make things worse the average letterbox isn't exactly an unbreakable safe. Add to that the fact that mail security isn't something that tends to be in the top of our list of priorities, and we have an open city for identity thieves.
The structure of the average mailbox hasn't changed for decades, and it obviously isn't the most inaccessible structure in the world. What can be more accessible than being able to access things directly with your hand, as with most open-design mailboxes?
Do you like giving presents? To the point that you want to hand out possibly your entire life savings to a random criminal? I didn't think so. That's what you might be doing however when you neglect your mailbox for extended periods of time or leave junk mail that contains personally-identifiable information in the box. Ultimately these can result in emptied bank accounts or ruined credit at best and becoming the subject of criminal investigations at worst.
You simply cannot and should not ignore your mailbox when it comes to home security. From the moment you become aware of there being mail in the mailbox you should collect it as soon as possible. Of course this isn't always possible or convenient, so make sure you lock your mailbox or invest in one that can be locked. Another alternative is to get a PO box from a post office or a mailbox company, which are lockable and come with a key. Depending on the size of the mailbox and the location, you could be looking at anything from a negligible fee to something significant.
If the idea of regularly having to visit the post office to get your bills doesn't sound appealing and prefer all mail to come to your home, invest in a vault-like steel mailbox. It should be easy to insert mail but impossible to take out its contents without opening it with a key. This should keep out most identity thieves, though nothing can stop a determined person who is personally targeting you. Just like anything else in your home, you should always maintain your mail vault and keep it well oiled, including its hinges.
Maintenance also involves checking to see if anyone has damaged your mail vault. This obviously indicates an attempt to steal your mail, and in these cases a security camera should come in handy to catch the perpetrator in the act. Don't confront them directly though as this could be dangerous - simply contact law enforcement.
It's easy to obtain a mail vault from a hardware retailer or from an online
store. As with any other purchase do your research and be sure about what you're getting. It also never hurts to get a deal.