Mailboxes are a potential goldmine for identity thieves. Incoming mail includes items such as credit card offers, tax statements, catalog order forms, checkbooks and account statements that can all be used by an identity thief. Outgoing mail can include checks, bill, credit card applications and credit card numbers that are also valuable to thieves.
Here are six steps to help you guard against “mailboxing” crimes:
• Opt-out of pre-approved offers – Remove your name from the credit bureau marketing lists for pre-approved credit card and loan offers. Either call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT or go online to www.optoutprescreen.com to complete this simple request. You will be amazed at how opting-out can reduce your mail volume each day.
• Request online statements – Many banks, creditors, lenders and investment companies now allow you to request that all your statements are delivered by email instead of by mail. Not only does this cut down on mailbox clutter, it also helps you prevent identity theft.
• Drop off outgoing mail in a secure location – Putting outgoing mail in an unlocked mailbox and marking it with a red flag is practically asking for identity theft. Instead, place outgoing mail in a blue postal collection box or take it directly to the post office.
• Request mail holds – If you are leaving town, even just for a few days, request a free mail hold from the US Postal Service. Their online mail hold request form can be filled out the same day for holds from 3 to 30 days. At the end of your trip you can either have the mail delivered all at once or left at the post office for you to pick up.
• Install a locking mailbox – If you can, replace your current mailbox with a locking mailbox. Some mailboxes offer extreme security, but even a less secure mailbox will act as a good crime deterrent.
• Watch for suspicious signs – Disappearing bills, missing mail, letters announcing new accounts in your name, unauthorized checks and credit report changes can all be signs that you have been a victim of mailboxing.
The editorial team from PaydayLoansOnlineLender.com is committed to bringing you the best financial articles and money saving tips in 2015! Click here to read more about identity theft from other sources and additional articles on fraud. A few small steps can help you guard against the most damaging and prevalent types of identity theft. Along with preventing mailboxing, you should always remember to shred sensitive documents and check your credit reports every 3-6 months.