TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - There could be plenty of personal info on you sitting right in front of your house. It's in the mail, in your mailbox, right where a thief could use it to steal your identity.
Some mid-town neighborhoods are seeing a jump in mail thefts but there are ways you can protect yourself, and help catch the crooks.
Newsletters for the Palo Verde, Harden and Garden District neighborhoods have been reporting incidents of mail theft and urging residents to be on guard.
Irene Sheridan says she's lived in this neighborhood more than 20 years. She follows one of the biggest bit of advice: don't let mail sit in your mailbox a second more than you have to.
"I do not put out mail for the pick up. I always wait for the post lady to drive by then I go running out there to give it to her and anything, packages, I take to the mail, post office."
U.S. Postal Inspector David Birch says sometime gangs of mail thieves will work a neighborhood, posting lookouts while others scoop up the mail looking for the info they need to steal your identity. He says now that tax time is close, items may come in your mail that give an ID thief plenty to work with.
"There's individuals that once they get ahold of that information they can file fraudulent tax returns and that's big problem and is growing."
Postal Inspectors say if you see something suspicious or if you have a mail theft yourself don't hesitate to report it because if you get one location, and another, and another, the investigators can develop a pattern to help them crack their case.
You can find more on how to protect yourself at this link from the U.S. Postal Inspectors.
And mail thieves they catch can do some serious time. Tucson Police caught one mail thief with Postal Inspectors helping out. That man was just sentenced to fifteen years in prison.