You vigilantly protect your online identity, shred your important papers and lock your house when you leave for the day, but you are still vulnerable to thieves. If you have not taken steps to protect the contents of your mailbox, you are leaving the door wide open to welcome a criminal into your life. Mail theft is far more common than you might think.
Mail theft involves taking physical mail directly out of a mail box according to Lifelock. Whether the thief is after something of value that you have delivered or something that he can use to steal your personal information, the process is the same. In order to put a stop to these actions, you need to learn to think like a thief.
Your Mail Is an Attractive Target
If you could think like a thief, you would realize why the mail is such an attractive target. While it is against the law to steal someone’s mail, Credit FYI warns that the fines are small compared to the fines for other types of theft. No one is going to pull out a gun on you when you rob the mailbox, unlike if you rob a bank. The chances of getting caught are also much smaller, because most people do not pay attention to what is going on near their mailbox throughout the day. These facts all make the mail an attractive target for thieves.
Thieves Want Financial Information
New checks from your bank, credit card statements and even paychecks mailed from your employer are all targets for thieves. Financial information or products give the thief details about your identity that they can use to run up bills in your name. Also, thieves may be able to cash checks and steal your money in this way.
So how can you avoid this risk? You have to receive financial information in the mail from time to time, but you can limit this. Whenever possible, revert to digital payment options. Pick up your check from your employer directly, or ask about direct deposit options. Retrieve your mail from the mailbox soon after it is delivered, and never leave it in the box overnight. If you will be out of town, leave details with the post office to have your mail stopped until you return.
Protect Your Outgoing Mail
The main things people mail are checks to pay bills and packages to send gifts to others. That red flag you put up to show the postman that you have outgoing mail is like a welcome mat to a thief. To avoid this problem, the Montclair Safety and Improvement Council recommends that you take your packages and letters to a local collection box or the post office, or put it in the mailbox without lifting the flag.
Mail theft is a very real concern in today’s society, but you can take steps to prevent it. By making your mailbox unattractive to thieves, protecting our outgoing mail and ensuring that the mail does not sit in your box for an extended period, you can ensure that you are not the next victim of a potential thief. Learn to think like a thief, and you will be able to protect your personal and financial information!