We do the research

Residential Locking Mailbox

Mail theft is still one of the biggest ways identity thieves get your personal information - especially around tax time. Using a locking mailbox can go a long way to prevent mail theft. This article explains the advantages of a locking mailbox, how it works, what thieves look for when stealing mail, selection criteria, and tips on preventing mail theft.

This is not the time to go cheap.

Our Recommendations

Or shop for locking mailboxes

Advantages of a Locking Mailbox

What Thieves Look For in Your Mail

back to top

How does a Locking Mailbox Work?

The mail carrier takes your outgoing mail from the unsecured area and drops your incoming mail into a secured area of the mailbox. Only you have the keys to it. The outbound mail is not locked because the mail carrier would have to have a key.

Inexpensive mailboxes can easily be broken into with a crowbar or baseball bat. Most mailboxes are broken into with baseball bats but a few thieves are more industrious.

back to top

Locking vs. Self-Locking Mailbox

Roadside locking mailbox

What is the difference between locking and self-locking mailboxes?

The locking mailbox has two parts to it:

1. The unsecured area (upper part of mailbox shown) where mail is picked up by the postal worker.

2. The locked area (lower part of mailbox shown) where delivered mail is picked up by you.

Mail is delivered through a letter slot in a locked door. The slot  must be at least 1.75 inches high (per USPS specification). The door can only be opened by the owner.

A self-locking mailbox's primary method of delivery is through the door which is set to be opened once (by the mail carrier) then is locked when shut. If the mail is not picked up, the carrier can still deliver mail through a door slot. Once the homeowner picks up the mail, the box is reset so it can be opened once by the mail carrier.

The mail carrier does not have a key for either locking or self-locking boxes.

back to top

Selection Criteria

   Here is a list of what is important when buying a residential locking mailbox:

   Other things to consider

back to top

Mail Theft Prevention Tips

Here are some things you can do to help prevent mail theft:

back to top