Several recent stories about mail theft and identity theft in Sherman Oaks brought this response from an inspector with the U.S. Postal Service, who doubts that stolen mail led to identity theft.
I would like to follow-up on your recent article regarding Identity Theft. I am a Postal Inspector with the Los Angeles Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service. We investigate crimes against the Postal Service, our employees and our customers, which includes identity theft investigations. It is likely that the identity theft victim was not a victim of mail theft; according to the Federal Trade Commission only four percent of victims cited stolen mail as the source of personal information. Regardless of where identity thieves steal personal information, they often use the mail in furtherance of their scheme. As the primary law enforcement agency for the Postal Service with the responsibility of keeping our nation’s mail system crime free, we have jurisdiction over 200 federal statutes including identity theft. The Identity Theft and Economic Crimes (ITEC) Task Force established in 2003 by the Los Angeles Division of the Postal Inspection Service is housed in our downtown facility and includes Postal Inspectors (USPIS), Secret Service (USSS), Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), Department Diplomatic Security Service, and Los Angeles County Probation. Task force members often work with local law enforcement as well. The ITEC Task Force urges the public to visit the Postal Inspection Service website for tips to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft: https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/MailFraud/fraudschemes/mailtheft/IdentityTheft.aspx. Victims may also file a report on our website or by calling our National Law Enforcement Communication Center (NLECC) and selecting option 3.
Thank you for your help in disseminating crime prevention information to protect your community.
Please feel free to contact me.
Renee Focht, Postal Inspector/Public Information Officer
Los Angeles Division
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
P.O. Box 2000
Pasadena, CA 91102-2000