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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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.

What percent of mail is stolen? ›

What percentage of mail is lost by the US post office? Wikipedia says 3%, but measuring is difficult.

How often do people steal mail? ›

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

How does mail theft occur? ›

The law stipulates that certain criteria must be met in order to be considered mail theft. Mail theft occurs when an individual: Removes mail (defined as a letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail) from a mailbox, mail carrier, post office or other mail receptacle.

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.

What happens to people who steal mail? ›

Mail theft is a felony-level federal offense.

Perpetrators may receive up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. These two crimes are different, but they are often carried out alongside one another. If someone pilfers your mail and uses the information they find to defraud you, they're guilty of both crimes.

Who pays for stolen mail? ›

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.

Do postal workers steal mail? ›

Internal Mail Theft

The overwhelming majority of USPS employees work conscientiously to deliver the nation's mail. Unfortunately, a small number of employees abuse the public's trust by delaying or stealing the mail. OIG Special Agents work diligently to identify and investigate these crimes.

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 is mail theft called? ›

Mail fraud is using or stealing mail to defraud another.

Can I put a camera on my mailbox? ›

No, If the Mailboxes Are the Property of Postal Service

So, before installing CCTV cameras for mailboxes, it is best to give your local mail offices a ring and ask them whether it is legal for you to put one inside and outside the mailboxes.

Why did someone steal 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).

How many letters go missing in the post? ›

Half a million letters a week are lost or arrive hopelessly late, it was revealed yesterday.

Where do the most packages get 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.

Is lost mail ever recovered? ›

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.

What to do when someone opens your mail? ›

Mail Theft

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

What happens if you open someone else's mail? ›

Is it a federal crime to open someone else's mail? 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.

Is stealing mail still a federal crime? ›

Mail Theft Is Also a Federal Crime

It should be noted that because mail theft involves the government-run U.S. Postal Service, it is also a federal crime under Title 18, U.S. Code 1708. Therefore, California's mail theft statute refers directly to this federal law for its definition of mail theft.

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.

Is stealing people's mail a felony? ›


Mail theft under California Penal Code Section 530.5(e) PC is a misdemeanor offense that is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 court fine.

Can I throw away mail that is not mine? ›

While it may be tempting to shred or throw away this mail, doing so may constitute a felony. Obstruction of correspondence is a federal criminal offense. Upon conviction, you may face up to five years in prison for destroying someone else's mail.

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.

Can postal workers be fired? ›

By law, your position with the Postal Service cannot be taken from you by the government without due process. That is not the case for persons in private employment who as a rule can be fired for any reason that is not illegal or contrary to the terms of a written contract of employment.

Can the mail man take your mail? ›

Letter carriers can pick up mail as they make their deliveries if the flag is up. It falls within the size and weight restrictions of the class.

What kind of mail gets tracked? ›

Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express–tracking included, 1-3 days. First Class Mail–Some tracking included, 1-5 days. USPS Certified Mail–A tracking service, 2-5 days.

Can police track your mail? ›

The FBI is allowed to legally track suspect's whereabouts by using the mail that is being sent to or from them, simply by using the information that is on the outside. Additionally, police are allowed to open packages that are deemed suspicious of illegality by FedEx or UPS.

Does USPS keep a record of all mail? ›

The originating Post Office facility does not maintain a mailing record for recorded delivery service items. However the destination post office is required to retain a record of delivery for each recorded delivery service item that is tendered to an addressee.

Is it a federal offense to touch someone's mailbox? ›

Mailboxes are protected by federal law, and crimes against them and the mail they contain are considered a federal offense.

Is stealing Amazon packages a felony? ›

Depending on the circumstances of the offense and the value of the package stolen, the suspect could face misdemeanor, felony, or even federal charges.

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.

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.

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.

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 can you do to reduce the possibility of receiving junk mail? ›

Get Free Scam Protection
  1. Report the email as spam.
  2. Block spam email addresses.
  3. Change your email privacy settings.
  4. Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters or mailing lists.
  5. Use a secondary email address.
  6. Use a third-party email filter.
  7. Delete suspicious emails.
  8. Protect your device against malicious spam.
Aug 31, 2022

How do I reduce junk mail? ›

To decide what types of mail you do and don't want from marketers, register at the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) consumer website DMAchoice.org, and choose what catalogs, magazine offers, and other mail you want to get. DMAchoice will stop most, but not all, promotional mail.

Can I put a lock on my mailbox? ›

Locks cannot be used on contemporary or traditional mailbox designs. USPS carriers do not open locked mailboxes and do not accept mailbox keys.

Is it better to block or delete spam? ›

If you receive any unwanted email, the best approach in almost every case is to delete it immediately. It is often clear from the Subject line that a message is junk, so you may not even need to open the message to read it.

Why did my friend receive an email with my name but not my email address? ›

Someone is spoofing - a fraudulent or malicious practice in which communication is sent from an unknown source disguised as a source known to the receiver - using your email address.

Why am I getting so much junk mail now? ›

Change your email address. If the spam keeps on rolling in, it could mean your email address was exposed in a data breach. It can be hard to prevent spam when cybercriminals have your information. One option in this case is to change your email address.

How to avoid stealing? ›

Try the following:
  1. Stop. Instead of acting on impulse, stop yourself immediately.
  2. Take a breath. Stand still and give yourself breathing space.
  3. Observe. Think about what is going on. ...
  4. Pull back. Attempt to look at the situation objectively. ...
  5. Practice what works.

Why can't employees stop theft? ›

A representative for a food worker union in Washington said most of the employees they represent are told to not stop shoplifters. The reason is simple, there's the chance of injury to the employee, the thief, and other shoppers. That can also lead to lawsuits.

What should be installed to avoid theft? ›

For both PCs and laptops, use cable locks or even security webcams. When you can't tie down smaller, more portable devices (tablet computer, USB flash drive or external hard drive), keep them out of sight when you're away from them.

How do I stop magazines coming to my house? ›

DMAChoice.org: Create an account at dmachoice.org, known as the Direct Marketing Association's consumer website. It allows you to unsubscribe from specific catalogs, as well as magazine and credit card offers for yourself and deceased relatives.

How to avoid spam? ›

How to prevent spam
  1. Use the spam-reporting function. ...
  2. Mark which emails are not spam. ...
  3. Sign up for some services with alternate email addresses. ...
  4. Don't interact with spam. ...
  5. Don't publish your contact information. ...
  6. Check for data leaks involving your email. ...
  7. If someone you know sent you spam, tell them.
Nov 11, 2022

Can I refuse mail? ›

The addressee may refuse to accept a piece of mail at the time it is offered for delivery. The addressee should endorse the piece “Refused.”


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