A rise in ID theft throughout Australia's major cities should be of major concern for strata managers, given the use of letterboxes by fraudsters to access the personal documents of unit block residents.

Offenders can use a broad variety of material found in the mail of victims to perform ID theft, ranging from credit cards and cheques to utility bills and subscriptions.

After obtaining contact details from documents such as Telstra bills, wily offenders place phone calls to victims impersonating businesses or service providers in order to procure further personal information.

They can then use this information to impersonate victims and alter their registered mobile phone details, which in turn enables them to access personal accounts and pilfer vast sums of money.

Con artists in Australia are focusing in particular upon the letterboxes of unit blocks, given the ease with which the contents of such facilities can be accessed, either by tampering with their easily picked locks or prying them open using crowbars.

“We find that they target the unit blocks because there are a large number of letter boxes there,” said Detective Inspector Neil Higgins to ACA. “What we’ve found is some of the locks are fairly generic.”

Industry body Strata Community Australia echoed these remarks, noting that mail theft had risen over just the past 12 months, abetted by the ease with which letterbox locks can be accessed.

SCA’s NSW vice president Hugh McCormack said victims often do not even realise that they’ve been the victim of mail theft, given that the crimes usually occur in the middle of the night and at times involve the removal of items without any discernible value.

Harbourside police chief Allan Sicard has suggested a number of measures that strata managers can employ to ensure the security of letter boxes and safeguard residents from the threat of ID theft.

Those include moving letterboxes to safer locations that can only be accessed by tenants, installing CCTVs to provide surveillance of letterboxes, as well as changing to sturdier types of letterboxes that cannot be accessed using skeleton keys or pried open with crowbars.