Although most of our modern day communication is conducted through electronic devices such as our phones and laptops, hardcopy mail is still a thing.
Many of us still receive bills, newsletters and more through the letterboxes situated at our Housing Development Board (HDB) void decks.
And just like our electronic data, our hard copy data can be sensitive and therefore, whoever is involved in its transaction needs to be responsible for maintaining its privacy.
Which is why letterboxes being accidentally left open is a pretty big deal.
On Thursday, 14 March 2019, several letterboxes were accidentally left open by a postman.
The incident involved the letterboxes at Block 128C Canberra Street in Sembawang.
According to online reports, Jack Teo was the one who called SingPost about the opened letterboxes.
Neighbour Had Noticed Them First But Didn’t Report The Incident
At around 7.30pm, Jack Teo, who is a resident of block 128B, noticed the open letterboxes.
His neighbour who lives in 128C was returning home from work when she spotted the letterboxes at 5 pm.
At 9 pm, Teo headed back down to check on the letterboxes again.
Seeing that they were still left open, he called SingPost to inform them.
Singpost confirmed that they were informed of the incident at 9 pm and thanked Teo for the heads up.
They dispatched a staff member to that block and stated that the letterboxes were closed by 9.25 pm.
SingPost said in a statement: “We apologise for this incident and seek the public’s understanding as we continue to improve on our service issues.”
Well, at least this time, they apologised #justsaying
But they didn’t leave it as an apology, because that’s not sincere enough.
SingPost assured the public: “Disciplinary action, extra supervision and additional training will be given to the postman…Mailbox security is a key area that we are looking into as part of our operational review, and we are exploring measures to prevent such incidents from happening again.”
If any members of the public note any such incidences in the future, SingPost urges them to call the SingPost hotline at 1605 so that they can take prompt action to rectify the situation.
That, apparently, isn’t the first that happened this year.
On February 8 2019, several letterboxes were accidentally left open at Block 621 Bedok Reservoir Road due to a faulty latch.
A guy noticed the open mailboxes at 5.30 pm, and he tried calling the SingPost hotline to inform them but couldn’t get through.
At 8.20 pm, SingPost was informed of the incident and an inspector headed down to the block by 9 pm.
He found that there was a mechanical fault with the latching mechanism and made some temporary repairs to secure the masterdoor.
So there you are thinking, it’s just open letterboxes, got so serious meh?
Got. Mail privacy is important.
If our sensitive details in them fall into the wrong hands, they could lead to security threats such as identity theft, scams, financial frauds, privacy intrusion or cyber threats.
Other than calling the SingPost hotline immediately if you notice open letterboxes, here are two tips you can take to protect the privacy of your hard copy mail.
Try Going Paperless
For data such as credit card data, try arranging with the credit card company if you could go paperless, such as receiving electronic instead of hard copy bills.
Of course, this entails that you take note of cybersecurity too.
Remember to Shred
For expired data like bank statements, do remember to shred the paper before disposing of them to prevent anyone who accesses the trash from getting any information.
If you do not own a shredder, simply find ways to tear or cut the paper into pieces which are as small and illegible as possible.
Because while you think no one cares about your data, you’d be surprised at how much your data is worth. If not, why is Facebook in hot soup now?
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