Criminals steal utility bills from outdoor mailboxes in spate of identity thefts in Emerson Park

Kent Police

Kent Police - Credit: Archant

Identity thieves have been targeting outdoor post boxes to steal utility bills and apply for credit cards in victims’ names, police have warned.

Emerson Park Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT) has urged people to stay vigilant, with reports of the unusual crime having increased in recent weeks.

A spokesman for the SNT said the force had been receiving an average of two to three calls about suspected thefts from mailboxes every week in the central Emerson Park area.

He said: “It’s really stepped up in the past few weeks.

“The area is being targeted by two groups, they are specifically taking utility bills to commit some sort of identity fraud.

“They are then applying for a loan or a credit card, which they then will try to intercept.”

He said many victims had discovered the crime after receiving credit cards with banks they did not use. But if cards are intercepted by the thieves, other victims could potentially only find out through credit referencing.

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Police are now urging people to use secure or indoor mail boxes, and ensure they are clear of junk mail, so thieves cannot access post.

Residents should also report suspicious behaviour seen near mail boxes to police on 101, or call 999 if the suspected offence is ongoing. They can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.