JACKSON (CBS13) — With tax season in session, many people are receiving important forms and documents in the mail. But what happens if a complete stranger is able to pick yours up from the Post Office?
That's what one Jackson woman says happened to her in December, and it couldn't have come at a worse time.
Nicole Klauer had just started up Exhale Farms, a nonprofit therapeutic riding center for first responders when she realized she was missing some important mail: credit card statements, W-2s and other business records.
"One day my mail would be there, and the next day it would not be there," she said.
After this was happening for a few weeks, she says she went to the Post Office and was told that another woman, with a piece of valid ID, had placed a hold on the delivery of Nicole's mail and was instead picking it up, in person. But Nicole had no idea who this woman was and never gave any authorization.
"I wasn't, I wouldn't say, mad," she said. "I was just very, very nervous of what the next steps could be if this lady uses any of my personal information for her benefit."
So far, that hasn't been the case. But still, Nicole started a fraud alert through the credit bureaus and opened an investigation with the United States Postal Inspectors Office, creating an office inquiry.
You might remember our 2016 investigation showed you how easy it was for a stranger to re-route your mail to a different address or put a hold on it. All we had to do was fill out a form and drop it in the mailbox.
A spokesperson for USPS and the Postal Inspector's Office says that national controls should have prevented Nicole's situation, but, ultimately, individual post offices have discretion in who they release mail to.
Without specifically commenting on Nicole's case, they said that anyone suspecting fraud should contact the postal inspector.
The department has been busy, as several mail fraud investigations have resulted in federal convictions recently.
Nicole also filed a police report, which is recommended, as well. Mail theft is a misdemeanor in California, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Federally, the crime carries fines and up to five years in prison.
Unfortunately, Nicole says she's still having problems with her mail being intercepted and has decided to switch over to a P.O. box in another city.
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