In recent weeks, the sheriff's office has received increasing reports of mail and related identity theft as thieves target community mail racks and neighborhood collection boxes, deputies said.
Mail thieves search for checks, bank account statements and credit card applications to steal personal information, according to the sheriff's office.
Crime prevention specialist Dave Crozier encourages several ways to protect mail -- from never sending cash or coins to asking banks for secure, unalterable checks and promptly picking up mail after delivery, especially when expecting checks or financial statements.
Crozier also advises having the post office hold mail while on vacation and mailing all outgoing letters via post office or by putting it in the hands of a postal worker.
Anyone who sees a mail theft in progress is urged to immediately contact the nearest law enforcement agency.