Protecting your mail

Mail theft is definitely on the rise in the city, especially with the holidays approaching. The best way to prevent mail theft now and in the future is to invest in a secure, locking mailbox. These can be a bit pricey and the most economical way to do this is by going in on the purchase with a number of neighbors. Your mail carrier will need the key to the mail boxes, so you should be sure to discuss your plans with your carrier early in your planning.

Here are some links I found to companies that sell secure mailboxes. There are many more companies out there as well.:

Update: See the comments for additional places to buy secure mailboxes.

5 comments to Protecting your mail

  • EricM

    I have a locking mailbox that I bought from SeattleLuxe. It is the kind that
    I had seen at some homes over on 5th Ave NE, in which the mail drops in through the top and drops to the bottom,
    where it is unreachable. There is a locking door at the bottom which opens to get the mail. It is plastic (strong and
    rust proof). It is called the Mail Guard mailbox. The cost is $89.99. I live on the corner of 12th Ave NE and
    NE 120th St (11756 – 12th Ave. NE), if you want to check it out. Here is a link showing this type of mailbox:

    I had good luck with Seattle Luxe, because at one point I had to replace the lock and they sent me one without question
    and free of charge.

    Eric Madis

  • Renee

    Here are a few more comments that neighbors sent:

    – We were getting concerned with mail theft a few years ago, and decided to get a PO Box. We have a medium size box (we have both personal mail and business mail) at the Lake City Post Office. In case you’re interested, the cost is: $56/every 6 months

    – Maple Leaf Ace Hardware has 2 models of lockable mailboxes. Prices at $80 and $160.
    Maple Leaf is 9000 Roosevelt Wy NE, Seattle WA 98115 Open 8-7 except Sundays 9-6, Phone 522-3324.

    – We bought a locking mailbox from Home Depot for $100 and installed it in place of the no locking mailbox.

    – The individual locking mailboxes you can get you don’t give the carrier a key. There’s a slot for them to put the mail in. That way you don’t have to worry about who has your key, especially with the way they keep changing carriers (at least over here).

    The large locking ones for the whole block you have to go through the PO to get, and if I remember correctly, there is a charge for them to put it in so it has to be something everyone agrees on. (If I’m mistaken on this one, please, someone correct me.)

    – Beware of the models of locking mailboxes, too. I have one I can stick my hand in most of the way.

    I got that one after someone swiped my mail and charged $4,777 in five days. It doesn’t matter whose fault it was. It trashed a beautiful credit rating, which is now back up to just middling. All the appeals in the world did not fix it.

    I think I’ll be buying the big, beefy one today.

  • Renee

    Another comment from a neighbor:

    This past July our cul-de-sac went together on 123rd and 24th NE and bought a security 18 mail box cluster unit as the individual ones wouldn’t have worked out. It cost us each $196.00 which included the wood structure and the labor to build. The top of the structure and painting will be completed in the spring at no charge by the builder–a neighbor. One house is vacant and when it is sold we will each get a little refund. We have two places for out going mail that is secure, and two large boxes for packages that will not fit in the individual boxes. Each box is approx 15” deep by 12″ wide and 4 1/2 ” tall. We wanted the larger boxes so that we could leave several days of mail if we were gone. We each were given 3 keys and works out well for us as keep in our cars and one at home.

    I cannot locate my folder with all the information that I had found on the boxes, but there was $500-$1500 difference in price between all the companies. Auth-Florence makes the majority of the different style boxes and many companies will put their own name on the box which can be misleading. Be sure to check with the station manager for approval–in our case it was North City PO– 206 364 7397 or 364 0656. There is no charge from the PO. Google is a great resource for information on the mail boxes. It is a wonderful feeling now to know that our mail is secure.

  • Garth Ferber

    Thanks to everyone for the useful information. I think that mail theft from old style mailboxes is an unfortunate reality. A check was stolen from our old style mailbox about 3-4 years ago and shortly thereafter somebody tried to write checks on the account. Luckily we got locking mailboxes on our street not long after. Ours is the style with many households all on one stand and I personally like it and I think the postman does too as he can deliver to many households in one stop. Plus it has a secure outgoing mail slot. We were lucky in that our secure box came with the swale project. Feel free to see the boxes near the ends of my section of 20th between 115th and 117th. Garth

  • I live in Greenlake and work at Mail Boss which is a family owned company in Redmond WA. We started making the Mail Boss locking mailbox back in 2006 after my family had our mail stolen 3 times in as many months and all the products we found at Home Depot and online were made of cheap materials and could easily be pried open. The Mail Boss is a high security locking mailbox available in curbside and wall mount options that can’t be fished by hand or easily pried open with a screwdriver. It is made of heavy gauge galvanized powder coated steel and keeps your mail and identity safe. Also can take a baseball bat no problem.

    Mail theft is a growing problem across the nation but particularly in Seattle. Most everyone uses a paper shredder to shred their sensitive documents before discarding them, but don’t think about where these documents come: in the unlocked mailbox. Research indicates that “old-fashioned” low tech methods (and not cyber crimes as is often believed) constitute the majority of identity theft cases, so the best defense is:
    (1) Use a high security locking mailbox to protect incoming mail. The Mail Boss is a great option. Fort Knox and Armadillo also offer high security mailboxes.
    (2) Never send sensitive mail from an unsecured mailbox; bring checks to the Post Office or better yet use online bill pay.
    (3) Always shred sensitive documents (most of which come in your unlocked mailbox) before discarding them.

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