14 Alarming Mail Theft Statistics to Increase Awareness (2023)

Ordering a package from Amazon or any other online store has become a daily occurrence. These mail theft statistics give insight into where lost mail really goes and how you can prevent it from happening to you.

People shop for everything and anything online these days. From gifts to appliances and even the weekly grocery list, many people are ordering and can’t wait for their packages to arrive.

Once the mailbox remains empty and the awaited package never arrives, two things could have happened: it was lost, or it was stolen. The chances are that the package will never be found.

The Most Crucial Mail Theft Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • Between 2017 and 2020, mail theft increased by 600%
  • Upon delivery, around 23 million people have had their package stolen
  • In the United States, about 1.7 million packages are stolen every day
  • Almost 50% of people reported a stolen parcel to the police
  • The number of Americans who had their package stolen rose to 43% in 2020
  • In 2020, over 60% of people stayed at home to wait for a parcel
  • Approximately 70% of people won’t use Amazon Key
  • Since mail theft is a felony, the punishment is a fine or prison time of up to five years

USPS Lost Mail Statistics: Some Packages Get Lost, Others Get Stolen

Among the billions of packages shipped by Americans every year, it is hard to determine which ones are lost, which are stolen by the United States Postal Service (USPS) employees, and which ones are taken from the porches upon delivery.

1. It’s estimated that 3% of all mail is lost by the US postal service.


There is no definitive answer to the question of how much mail is lost each year. While some estimates report 3%, it’s difficult to know for sure as the post office doesn’t measure its delivery performance and never has.

One way of measuring lost mail is by tallying reports of missing packages. While this identifies how many have been lost, it doesn’t indicate whether the package was lost or stolen.

2. About 23 million people have their package stolen upon delivery.


According to package theft statistics, almost 23 million Americans who ordered stuff online were victims of porch pirates in 2019. Notably, 74% of those packages were stolen while the homeowners were at work.

3. Mail theft reports increased by 600% 2017–2020.


The Postal Inspection Service shared the data that shows an enormous increase in mail theft reports. By August 2020, there were roughly 177,000 reports, indicating a 600% increase in stolen mail over the last three years.

4. There were 1,472 internal investigations related to mail theft by postal employees October 2020–September 2021.


While many cases of theft occur from an outsider grabbing a package off a doorset, of the 1,472 internal investigations with the USPS, 453 resulted in arrests, and 1,042 administrative actions were taken.

The USPS is responsible for any internal complaints about postal workers or mail sorters, while the police are responsible for porch pirates and thieves outside of the postal jurisdiction.

5. Mail theft statistics from 2019 show the number of Americans who had their package stolen rose from 36% to 43% in 2020.


With the arrival of the pandemic, staying at home and ordering online became a norm, resulting in an increase of parcels and also mail theft. The latest data shows that the number of victims rose from 36% in 2019 to 43% in 2020.

6. Approximately 1.7 million packages are stolen daily in the US.


With the increase in online shopping, package theft numbers are rising. Even though USPS lost mail statistics show that lost mail can’t be counted, it’s estimated that 1.7 million packages are stolen per day in the US. That’s around $20 to $30 billion lost every year.

7. 47% of people filed a police report about a stolen parcel.


Nearly half of people will file a police report if they notice or think their package has been stolen, and with good cause. The average value of an ordered package is $136, and luckily many companies provide refunds for stolen goods.

How To Report Mail Theft

Mail is defined as any letter, postcard, package, box, or bag. Mail theft can happen in private or collection mailboxes, mail trucks, or postal workers. With billions of packages moving around each year, chances are some packages will be stolen. There are some things that you can do to possibly locate your mail, however, starting with a mail theft report.

8. Mail theft is a felony, and the punishment is a fine or prison time of up to five years.


Even though it seems like a minor thing, mail theft is a federal crime. It is defined as taking any package, card, or other posted item that doesn’t belong to you. This felony is punishable by a fine or prison time of up to five years. The mail theft punishment for postal employees who steal is also up to five years in prison, based on the 18 US Code, Section 1709.

9. A total of 32% of consumers feel like companies could do more.


Both consumers and companies are working on preventing mail theft. For example, FedEx, Amazon, and UPS require signatures or lock boxes to try and ensure the proper recipient is reached. It may not be enough, however, as 32% of customers still think companies can do more to prevent theft from happening.

Mailbox Theft Prevention

While there’s no chance of knowing and preventing mail theft in the primary steps of shipping, there are ways to keep it in place once it reaches the doorstep. Staying at home, limiting what you purchase online, and installing video surveillance systems are all prevention techniques used by regular internet shoppers.

10. Around 42% of people avoid ordering expensive items online to prevent mail identity theft.


Mail theft became an even bigger issue during the peak of the holiday season in the last couple of years. So much so that 47% of people who order online claimed they worry about theft, and 42% said they stopped ordering expensive items online to prevent losing money.

11. A total of 64% of people stayed at home to wait for a parcel in 2020.


A major theft prevention technique, especially for mailbox theft, is to be at home and wait for the package to arrive. Notably, 64% of people say that they do this when they are expecting a package, while 24% report that they do in-store pickup. 11% of people sent their packages to friends or relatives to ensure safe arrival.

12. About 50% of people also have some sort of doorbell camera to prevent mail theft.


Package theft statistics show that there are several techniques that have shown to reduce theft, not just on your doorstep, and video surveillance is one of them. Porch pirates are aware of the different ways that people try to protect their mail, but still, 50% of homeowners have a doorbell camera, as well as motion lights and alarm systems.

13. The number of individual mailboxes, P.O. boxes, and alternative delivery points grow by one million every year.


One way to not become a USPS lost mail statistic is to rent a private mailbox. One million people choose this option every year in order to limit the potential for doorstep piracy and keeps potential thieves away from your home.

14. About 70% of people still won’t use the Amazon Key.


The Amazon Key system is a way to avoid mail theft by allowing Amazon delivery workers access to your home in order to drop off a package. Despite many security systems in place like mobile alerts and video surveillance, nearly three-quarters of people say they don’t feel good about using it.


These mail theft statistics show that it’s not just about losing the cool thing you ordered online. The consequences of mail theft can be severe, even resulting in identity theft and other related scams.

Find out how to deter identity theft.

There are precautions to take against porch pirates, however, but not from USPS employees. Postal Service Inspectors are doing all they can to prevent and punish those who steal from valued customers. Together with the proper prevention and police tools, the rising number of mail theft might drop in the future.

People Also Ask

What percent of US mail is lost?

It’s difficult to accurately report the amount of US mail that gets lost because USPS doesn’t monitor delivery rates and never has. According to mail theft reports, however, it’s estimated that 3% of parcels are lost in the mail.

What happens if someone steals your mail?

Mail theft is defined as a federal crime in 18 US Code, Section 1708 for individuals, and Section 1709, for Post Office employees. In both cases, the punishment is a fine and up to five years in prison. If you notice that someone stole your mail, notify the Postal Inspector, the nearest police station, and talk with your neighbors to get information on the possible culprit.

How many packages are stolen each year?

11 million US residents were victims of mail theft in 2019, but not all of them filed an official report. Despite that, the Postal Inspection Service has recently published information that shows an increase of 600% in mail theft reports. By August 2020, there were roughly 177,000 reports of lost or stolen mail.

Why do people steal mail?

There are many reasons people steal mail, and mail can be stolen at each delivery step. For example, some organized crime groups steal mail trucks, while the employees find it hard not to take a look at what’s in the box. Porch pirates might steal it because they believe it’s valuable or if they know it contains sensitive information that they can use for other crimes.

Who investigates mail theft?

When someone steals the mail, it’s of utmost importance to file a report to the United States Postal Inspection Service. This is the first step to take, as it’s the body that investigates mail theft.
Since mail theft is a felony, the local police station should also get involved, especially if the video doorbell recorded any video or image of the perpetrator.
Unfortunately, even though delivery companies also have high numbers in mail theft statistics, they don’t claim any responsibility in helping the customers find the packages.


What are the stats on mail theft? ›

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) received 61,207 complaints about mail theft in 2020, compared to the 58,696 reported in 2019. This statistic is a telling indication of the growing prevalence of mail theft in the United States.

How can we reduce mail theft? ›

Protect Yourself
  1. Promptly pickup mail. Try not to leave letters and packages in your mailbox or at your door for any length of time.
  2. Inquire about overdue mail. ...
  3. Don't send cash. ...
  4. Arrange for prompt pickup. ...
  5. Use Hold for Pickup. ...
  6. Request signature confirmation. ...
  7. File a change of address.

How often do things get stolen in the mail? ›

For instance, USPS claims that there are as many as 1.7 million cases of mail thefts daily.

How can direct mail contribute to identity theft? ›

Such post allows an identity thief to get your birth date, Social Security Number, phone, driver's license number, username, and passwords. Basically, identity thieves may target any direct mail that includes personal details.

What are examples of mail theft? ›

The Fraud: A random few of the many, many examples of mail and wire fraud include things like sending fake invoices, running crooked online auctions, or even something as simple as stealing from a neighbor's mailbox to find checks or prescriptions or credit cards offers and the like.

Why are people stealing my mail? ›

Sometimes thieves are looking for bank statements, social security checks, or personally identifiable information they can use to steal your identity. Mail theft is a felony with serious consequences (five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000).

Can I put a camera on my mailbox? ›

Yes, If the Mailboxes Belong to You

Make sure that you point the CCTV cameras to public areas like the driveway and sidewalk, but not at your neighbors' properties. Or else, you may intrude on others' privacy and get involved in legal issues.

What is some solutions to package theft? ›

Smart Parcel Lockers: the Best Tool for Package Theft Prevention. If you are wondering how to avoid package theft, apartment package lockers are the answer. Investing in a parcel locker with a smart lock is the best apartment solution for communities interested in preventing package theft.

Is there a mailbox that can't be broken into? ›

Made of 12-Gauge and 14-Gauge powder-coated galvanized steel, the Mail Boss will not bend or break. With the revolutionary patented Fast Trak Mounting system, homeowners can install the Mail Boss in just minutes.

Where are the most packages stolen? ›

We found that about half (49%) of those who've had a package stolen live in the suburbs; not surprising since 54% of survey respondents live in the suburbs. However, those that live in a city are more likely to be a victim of package theft (39% – higher than the proportion of survey respondents: 29%).

Do people steal checks out of the mail? ›

In one common approach known as “check washing,” detailed in the FinCEN alert, criminals steal signed checks from postal boxes, then use common chemicals like nail polish remover to remove the dollar amount and the name of the “payee,” or recipient.

How likely is someone to steal your package? ›

Nearly 4 in 10 shoppers have had a package stolen before it could be delivered, according to a study commissioned by ValuePenguin.

What are the 3 D's of identity theft? ›

The three D's of identity theft are deter, detect, and defend. Answers will vary, but should be similar to the following:“Deter” is to prevent identity theft by protecting personal information from others.

How do I know if someone is using my address? ›

Signs of address fraud
  1. You receive a move validation letter. ...
  2. You stop receiving mail. ...
  3. The billing address for your credit card changes. ...
  4. You get notified that an account has been opened in your name. ...
  5. Go paperless with the important stuff. ...
  6. Be wary about who you give your information to.
Feb 26, 2019

What is the most secure way to receive mail? ›

Rent a P.O. Box

box is one of the most secure ways to receive mail and prevent mail tampering. P.O. boxes are mailboxes located at your local post office. The mail essentially goes from the post office to your box.

What to do when someone opens your mail? ›

Mail Theft

Or call USPIS: 1-877-876-2455.

Is mail theft a federal crime? ›

Yes, stealing mail is a federal crime. Anyone accused of mail theft must understand that the United States Postal Service (USPS) takes mail theft very seriously. Those who commit this offense can face serious penalties.

Does USPS investigate mail theft? ›

The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) investigates: Mail Theft.

What is mailbox fishing? ›

Mailbox fishing involves a thief tying a string to various items covered in a sticky substance into the mail collection box and pulling out mail. The crooks want checks, credit cards and account statements they can use for identity theft.

Why do thieves break into mailboxes? ›

“Community mailboxes are a target for thieves because they can steal multiple pieces of mail at one location, and most of the time, those mailboxes are not monitored by any cameras,” explains the police department's Ty Wood.

What happens if mail man steals mail? ›

The Postal Service does its best to return stolen and recovered mail to mailers or recipients. USPS Office of the Inspector General public information officer Jeff Arney said, "If we recover mail, we make every attempt to work with the Postal Service to get the mail back to its intended recipient.

Can you put a security sticker on your mailbox? ›

It's affordable and easy to install. The U.S Postal Service recommends getting a Label 33. You can get this label from your local post office. It's a sticker that warns thieves that mail theft and damage to a mailbox is a federal crime.

What is a smart mailbox? ›

You can create Smart Mailboxes that automatically organize email messages into a single mailbox, based on criteria you specify. For example, a Smart Mailbox could display all the emails you receive about a specific project, regardless of which mailboxes they're stored in.

Can you put lights on your mailbox? ›

The United States Postal Service (USPS) permits mailbox decoration so long as your creative flights of fancy don't interfere with mail delivery or pick-up. That said, this only applies if you have a full-use mailbox with a flag that indicates when there's outgoing mail.

What do porch pirates do with packages? ›

Porch pirates likely hope that small packages contain expensive items that can be resold, such as phones, video game systems, sound systems, or computers. Some people might simply have a compulsion towards theft that drives them to seek out the thrill of stealing.

What are three ways to avoid theft? ›

When you leave your room or office, even for a moment, always keep your doors and windows locked. Do not prop open or disengage the locking system on the door or windows. Never leave your purse, wallet, book bag, laptop, cell phone, earbuds, or other property unattended even for a moment in a public setting.

How do you hide packages on your porch? ›

  1. How to Protect Packages From Porch Pirates. ...
  2. Have a Visible Security Camera on Your Porch. ...
  3. Leave Instructions to Conceal the Package. ...
  4. Use a Porch Lock Box. ...
  5. Follow Package Tracking. ...
  6. Require a Signature for Delivery. ...
  7. Coordinate With Neighbors. ...
  8. Get Packages Delivered to Your Workplace.
Dec 6, 2022

Can I open my mailbox without a key? ›

Prying your mailbox door open is the fastest way to open your mailbox when you have lost your key. You may even be able to open a cheaper lock with your neighbor's key, manicure scissors, or a small thin knife. Prying requires little skill, and you only need a flathead screwdriver and claw hammer to get the job done.

How do I vandal proof my mailbox? ›

A vandal proof mailbox should be securely placed in the ground with either an In-Ground or Surface Mount Steel Mounting Post, and then secured with concrete or heavy-duty mounting bolts.

What is abuse mailbox? ›

An Abuse Mailbox is where employees reported email threats like business email compromise (BEC) and credential phishing attacks are sent for analysis. SOC analysts use the Abuse Mailbox to sort, analyze, and respond to user-reported suspicious emails.

Do police care about stolen packages? ›

If there have been package thefts in your neighborhood recently, there is a higher likelihood that the cops will investigate the situation. If you're planning on making an insurance claim regarding the missing delivery, a police report can be helpful documentation to have.

What is the most stolen items in the USA? ›

A 2022 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation found laundry detergent to be among the most stolen items in organized retail crime, which has contributed to a $94.5 billion inventory shrinkage issue for the retail industry. These crimes aren't as simple as a lone shoplifter pocketing a product.

Who pays for stolen packages? ›

Often, it's up to the seller or retailer to ensure that you receive your package. Thus, anything that happens in transit is the responsibility of the seller; they are responsible if the package is lost or damaged during transit, and usually must replace it or give a reimbursement.

Can checks written with gel pens be washed? ›

If writing a check cannot be avoided, it should be done using a black gel pen. The gel seeps into the fibers of a check and will ruin an attempt of washing. Any valuable mail should be taken directly inside a USPS Postal Office and handed to an employee.

Can someone steal a check with my name on it? ›

Check forgery is when someone forges their name on a check. They may take someone else's check and forge their signature. Then, they may deposit the check in their own account or use it to buy goods or services at a business. In other cases, thieves may forge the endorsement.

Can someone steal a check in my name? ›

What can someone do with a stolen check? Once they've intercepted your check, thieves might find a way to cash it for the amount written or change it to a larger amount. In some cases, they may use chemicals to alter the name of the payee, or the amount.

How much money does Amazon lose on stolen packages? ›

The amount of money that Amazon lost on shipping — a.k.a. the net cost of landing all those brown boxes on your doorstep in record time — reached an all-time high of nearly $7.2 billion in 2016, according to GeekWire's analysis of the e-commerce giant's financial results.

How many Amazon packages are stolen? ›

And that's just one case. According to the 2022 Package Theft Report from SafeWise [*]: “260 million packages worth over $19 billion dollars were stolen by porch pirates over the last 12 months.”

What does Amazon do with lost packages? ›

You can track the status of your claim through your Amazon Pay account. Once Amazon has reviewed the claim, they'll either refund your payment or refuse to do so if the seller provides proof of delivery.

What are red flags of ID theft? ›

appear to be forged or altered; Personal identifying information (i.e., photograph, physical description) on the identification does not match the individual presenting the information; Address or name does not match the information on the identification and/or insurance card(s), credit card(s), etc.

What is the most extreme case of identity theft? ›

The credit check fraudster who stole 33,000 identities

In 2004, Philip Cummings pleaded guilty to one of the largest identity theft cases in the United States. Cummings worked a desk job at Teledata Communications, Inc. in Long Island, New York, where he helped companies run routine credit checks.

What are 6 common forms of identity theft? ›

The 6 Types of Identity Theft
  • #1 New Account Fraud. Using another's personal identifying information to obtain products and services using that person's good credit standing. ...
  • #2 Account Takeover Fraud. ...
  • #3 Criminal Identity Theft. ...
  • #4 Medical Identity Theft. ...
  • #5 Business or Commercial Identity Theft. ...
  • #6 Identity Cloning.
Feb 2, 2011

Can someone take out a loan in my name without me knowing? ›

If anyone, including a spouse, family member, or intimate partner, uses your personal information to open up an account in your name without your permission, this could be considered identify theft.

Can someone open a bank account in your name without you knowing? ›

This person may be the actual fraudster or someone the criminal has manipulated into acting as a front for the fraud. The accounts are then used to either launder money or commit future fraud. Criminals use stolen credentials and personal data to open accounts in the names of individuals without their knowledge.

Can you open mail addressed to your house but not your name? ›

The short answer is “yes.” Opening or destroying mail that is addressed to someone else is a crime called “Obstruction of Correspondence.” It is a serious felony that could lead to prison time. It is remarkably easy to find yourself charged with this crime, even if you didn't mean to do anything wrong.

What is the least hacked email provider? ›

6 Most Secure Email Providers
  1. ProtonMail. ProtonMail was founded in 2014 at the CERN research facility by Andy Yen, Jason Stockman, and Wei Sun. ...
  2. Hushmail. ...
  3. Tutanota. ...
  4. CounterMail. ...
  5. Mailfence. ...
  6. Librem Mail.

What is the safest way to mail a phone? ›

To start, choose a sturdy box or padded envelope to ship with. When shipping one or two cell phones, a padded envelope is a great option. If shipping more than a couple cell phones, a rigid box should be used. If you do not have access to a box, USPS provides Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes free or charge.

How do I protect my mail from theft? ›

Here is what you can do to protect your mail from thieves:
  1. Use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier.
  2. Pick up your mail promptly after delivery.
  3. Do not leave it in your mailbox overnight.

What percentage of mail gets lost? ›

According to the USPS, approximately 1 out of every 20,000 pieces of mail they handle becomes lost. That comes out to a 0. 005% chance that your mail will be lost.

What are the statistics for package theft? ›

According a survey at Finder.com in 2020:

17% of men say they've had a package stolen versus 11% of women. Over 25% of those making over 100K per year were victims. Only 12% of those making under 60K had a package stolen. Millennials made up 49% of the victims.

How common is package theft? ›

Package Theft Victims

Most (67%) have had one package stolen, 22% have had two, and 11% have had three or more stolen. Over one-third (34%) of Americans know someone who had a package stolen this year, and almost one in five (19%) know a neighbor who had a package stolen.

Will mail ever go away? ›

Although the U.S. mail system seems to be a sinking ship, don't expect it to go away any time soon. With its rich history and nostalgia, plus government red tape, we'll likely see the growth of private competitors before we actually see the end of U.S. mail.

Does lost mail ever get found? ›

The Postal Service™ will attempt to find and return your lost item(s), but submitting a search does not guarantee a successful outcome. We will return any mail piece from which we can locate a good address or match with an official search request.

Does all mail get tracked? ›

Whether you're shipping a package or standard mail, you should know that not all USPS services come with a tracking feature. However, to have USPS tracking, you can pay for additional services for your packages, such as USPS marketing mail and First Class Mail.

What type of data is stolen the most? ›

What types of data are typically stolen?
  • Customer records.
  • Financial Data such as credit card or debit card information.
  • Source codes and algorithms.
  • Proprietary process descriptions and operating methodologies.
  • Network credentials such as usernames and passwords.
  • HR records and employee data.

What is the most common type of theft in the US? ›

Maybe they just think of your average home invasion where someone's television is taken while they're at work. But none of these things come anywhere close to the biggest type of theft in the United States: wage theft. Every year, corporations steal billions of dollars in wages from their own workers.

How much power do Postal Inspectors have? ›

Enforcing Federal Statutes

Our Postal Inspectors are federal law enforcement officers who carry firearms, make arrests, execute federal search warrants, and serve subpoenas. Over 1200 Inspectors enforce roughly 200 federal laws covering crimes that include fraudulent use of the U.S. Mail® and the postal system.

What state has the most stolen packages? ›

Alaska and Rhode Island topped the list for both package theft rates and median value of stolen shipments, followed closely by Oklahoma. Arizona thieves ended up stealing the lowest-value packages, followed closely by Illinois, Louisiana, and New Jersey.

What cities have the most package theft? ›

Top 10 metro cities where porch pirates strike least
2022 rankingMetro areaYear-over-year change
1Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL+ 14 ↑
2Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota), FL+ 2 ↑
3Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville), NC+ 19 ↑
4Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL+ 2 ↑
6 more rows
Dec 18, 2022


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