Spokane man is thinking outside the box when it comes to protecting his mail
SPOKANE, Wash. — Rambo Road residents say dozens of sturdy, steel mailboxes were broken in to over the weekend; robbed of hundreds of pieces of precious mail. Neighbors say it’s a problem they’ve come to expect it every year at this time as W-2’s are sent out, but that they’ve never seen so many homes in the area affected by it before.
As they all continue to alert each other and report the robberies to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and the US Postal Service, one neighbor has been looking in to other methods to keep his mail safe.
George Naumowicz says he decided to invest in a sturdy, steel lock and key mailbox after multiple mail thefts over the years but it hasn’t stopped thieves since it was installed two years ago.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, his mailbox was broken in to for the third time along with with dozens of others along Rambo Road and adjacent streets.
Neighbors say it happens every Christmas and as tax season approaches. Naumowicz thinks
“No one here, no houses; you don’t see a house,” shared Naumowicz.
But he’s had enough.
Monday morning, he took measures in to his own hands adding extra reinforcements to the steel box to make it break-in proof.
Looking at his mailbox, Naumowicz explained, “because this is the weakest point right here, I am going to put a bar right across it so they can’t put anything underneath it.”
He also discovered a new service offered by the US Postal Service that he thinks is a game changer. It’s called informed delivery.
“You get to see what mail is being delivered to your house and you get to go back seven days,” explained Naumowicz.
When you sign up for informed delivery, the post office sends you a photo of each letter you are going to receive that day by email. It’s totally free and a great way to keep track of important tax documents headed your way.
For retired Naumowicz, it’s also a chance to see what was taken on Saturday morning.
“Its fantastic. It let’s me know what was in my mailbox on Saturday. Was it a bill, who’s the bill from; that will all be on there,” he said.
Kirstin Davis with the Better Business Bureau says even if you don’t get tax documents sent to you in the mail this season, you still need to use caution when filing.
The BBB says it’s important to make sure that whoever is preparing your taxes is well qualified. Check for their preparer tax identification number and be wary of preparers who guarantee a lot of money back ahead of time
If you choose to file online, use secure computers and change your passwords often. Never file for taxes through a link in an email.
If you believe someone else has filed used your identity, the BBB says it is important to first report it to the IRS. Next, alert the Federal Trade Commission. They can walk you through the steps you must take going forward. Contact your financial institutions to ensure your accounts are also not compromised and find out what you need to do to keep them safe.
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