CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – After NBC12 first reported about the discovery off Old Bon Air Road, people who live in the area began to call us, worried their mail may have washed away.
Until the investigation is complete, there is no way to know how much mail fell into the creek, or how long it had been soaking.
"Oh this is very, very serious especially for people who were expecting mail items that contain sensitive information," said NBC12 credit expert Bruce McClary.
McClary says this mail mess-up should put Bon Air residents on alert.
"I'm certain that in the mail somewhere there's information, enough information, that somebody could piece together, where they could take on somebody else's identity," he said.
Malcolm Turnbull has no idea how long his medical bill, covered in personal information, was floating near Old Bon Air Road.
"It looked like a lot of mail. It was a total mess. Almost all of it was in the creek," said Malcolm.
He did the right thing and reported it to the Inspector General. McClary says Malcolm needs to go a step further, and contact his creditors just to be safe.
"Contact the credit reporting agencies and place a 90 day fraud alert on your credit report. First of all, it's free to do it and second of all, all three of the major credit reporting agencies have toll-free numbers where you can call and get this taken care of," McClary said.
If you suspect your personal information's already been compromised file a report with the Postal Service and police.
"Check your mailbox regularly. Make sure that you know when things are supposed to come in and make sure that you know to react quickly when they don't come in," said McClary.
Malcolm and his wife Nell check their mail every day, but now worry everything that's supposed to be the mailbox, isn't.
"Just because it's supposed to be federally protected doesn't mean that it's always going to be," said Malcolm.
McClary says people should never let their guard down when it comes to mail.
"In the wrong hands it can cause a lot of damage to your credit rating, (and) to your finances," he said.
Our credit expert recommends online statements, and keeping tabs on your billing cycles. As for the investigation a postal employee can lose their job and face federal charges if they deliberately threw the mail in the creek.
If you suspect any of your mail is missing, you can report the loss and file a claim by calling the Postal Service at 877-876-2455, or it's Consumer Affairs Hotline at 804-775-6313. To check the credit reports mentioned in this article click here.