Mail theft is one of the top ways that people’s identities are compromised. But there are ways that you can make yourself less of a target. Here are some tips for protecting yourself.
- Get a locked mailbox or purchase a mailbox at your local post office. An unlocked mailbox is an open invitation for thieves to help themselves. No matter how tired or busy you are, always lock your mailbox. Bank statements, bills, checks and other personal documents come through the mail. Why make it easy for someone to steal your information?
- Don’t leave mail in your box. Pick up your mail promptly. Don’t let it sit in your box for days. And if you go on vacation, have the post office hold your mail for you. You can easily make a request online by visiting the U.S. Postal Service website and clicking the tab labeled “put your mail on hold.” Letting mail pile up in your box is a dead giveaway that you’re not home. Then, you’ll not only have to worry about mail thieves but also break-ins.
- Go electronic. Have mail sent electronically. Most credit card issuers and loan providers allow you to view your statements and make payments online.
- Pay attention to your mail. If you haven’t received mail in a few days, be on the alert. And if you think someone may have stolen your mail, contact the United States Postal Inspection Service. In the last year, they’ve arrested more than 6,000 theft suspects. You can call them at 877-876-2455, visit a local office, or fill out an online complaint form.
- Invest in a good shredder. When discarding mail, make sure you remove your mailing address. A thief could take your address, fill out a change-of-address form, and then have your mail forwarded to his or her home. The best action you can take is to shred this information.