An Australian Post spokesman said mail that is tampered with or goes missing from a resident's letterbox after it has been delivered is a criminal matter and customers should immediately report the theft to the police.
An Australian Post spokesman said mail that is tampered with or goes missing from a resident's letterbox after it has been delivered is a criminal matter and customers should immediately report the theft to the police.

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AFTER a report of alleged mail tampering on the Northern Rivers, questions surrounding what the penalties are for such a crime have been answered.

Mail tampering in Australia is illegal and an offence that carries serious penalties.

According to the Australian Federal Police, theft - including theft of mail once delivered is a state or Territory crime and must be reported to local police.

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The Criminal Code Act 1995 states if the person dishonestly: (a) opens a mail-receptacle; or (b) tampers with a mail-receptacle, offenders can be imprisoned for five years.

But if the person intentionally opens a mail-receptacle; and (b) the person is not authorised by Australia Post to open the mail-receptacle; and (c) the person does so knowing that he or she is not authorised by Australia Post to open the mail-receptacle, if found guilty the offender could be imprisoned for two years.

A NSW police spokeswoman said the force's crime prevention series, Protect your Identity specifies ways to avoid crimes such as mail theft or tampering.

"Items such as credit cards, drivers licences and utility statements sent out in the mail include vital personal details of you and your family," the spokeswoman said.

"In the wrong hands some of this information can be used to create false identifications and

used for crime. This type of crime costs millions of dollars each year and can have devastating consequences for your financial reputation.

She offered tips on securing mail to better protect ourselves from this type of crime.

  • Always install a lockable mailbox.
  • Always use a quality lock on your mailbox.
  • Never allow your mailbox to become full or overflow.
  • Always arrange to collect new credit cards from the bank or post office.
  • Always have mail held at the post office or collected by a friend when you're away for extended periods.
  • Always have your mail cleared daily.
  • Protect your identity
  • Always beware of 'cold calling' and confirm who you are talking to.
  • Never give any of your personal details to people you don't know or trust.
  • Always contact your bank, financial institution or service provider if you think you have been contacted by a scammer.

If you are aware of mail being stolen and used to obtain fraudulent identity, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at www.crimestoppers.com.au

For more crime prevention information visit us on www.police.nsw.gov.au


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