The Letterbox Scam
By |Published On: 27th September 2014|

Home » Uncategorised » The Letterbox Scam

The Letterbox Scam

By |Published On: 27th September 2014|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

£5m has been stolen this year by fraudsters who target flats.

In a con called the letterbox scam, criminals steal an individual’s identity from post that is delivered to communal hallways in flats.

Residents of shared buildings are easy targets for the thieves, as unsecured letterboxes give them easy access to personal post, says Financial Fraud Action UK.

£5m has been taken in the scam, which comprises obtaining personal information contained in letters of innocent victims.

Areas that the fraudsters have targeted include Bromley, Harrow, Manchester and Twickenham, say Financial Fraud Action UK’s intelligence team. The amount stolen through mail has increased by 10% on the same period last year.

Criminals gain entry to blocks of flats and take post from communal letterboxes that are broken, unlocked, or even unsecured in the entrance hall.

Agents Warn Not to Fall for Identity Fraud

Agents Warn Not to Fall for Identity Fraud

Some of the most prized letters contain financial information, such as card numbers or passwords. Post that includes credit or debit cards is also being used to illegally buy goods or withdraw money. Chequebooks are also used to make fraudulent payments.

Utility bills are also full of information that a criminal could use to commit identity theft.

Personal post, such as birthday cards and family letters, is even used to obtain information about a victim, which can be used to collect confidential details.

Financial Fraud Action UK said that banks are trying to avoid the risk by sending important documents in unmarked envelopes and disguised packaging.

Director of Financial Fraud Action UK, Katy Worobec, advised people to stay alert when expecting key post.

Flat residents are also instructed to receive online bank statements and utility bills, and collect their mail as quickly as possible.

Worobec says: “Letters and packages can be a key source of information for criminals aiming to defraud you, so make sure your mail collection points are as secure as they can be.

“Documents containing personal or financial information are of particular value to fraudsters, so keep a special look out if you’re expecting to receive something important.

“If you move house or flat, make a point of changing your address details as soon as possible with your bank, and other important organisations, to ensure sensitive mail doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.”1

Here are important tips for preventing the scam:

  • Ensure your letterbox is secure and cannot be accessed by anyone else. Tell your landlord or letting agent if it is damaged.
  • Collect your mail frequently.
  • Inform your bank, card issuer and other important organisations if you change your address.
  • If you cannot collect your mail, guarantee that someone trustworthy will pick it up instead, or use a mail collection service.
  • Take note of the dates you are expecting important documents, or receive these online.
  • Try collecting cards and chequebooks in person, if possible.
  • Use a mail redirection service when moving house.
  • If you believe your post has been stolen, contact the sender and Royal Mail.


About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

Share this article:

Related Posts


Looking for suitable
insurance for your
Check out our four
covers for landlords