Reader’s Digest: Your unlocked mailbox is a gold mine

Reader’s Digest recently published an exposé on identity theft, interviewing former identity thieves to find out what they don’t want us to know. From which credit card is the hardest to steal, to how much your information is worth, this story is a must-read.

On the top of the list, identity thieves report:

Your unlocked mailbox is a gold mine. I can steal your account numbers, use the convenience checks that come with your credit card statement, and send in pre-approved credit offers to get a card in your name. Stealing mail is easy. Sometimes, I act like I’m delivering flyers. Other times, I just stand there and riffle through it. If I don’t look suspicious, your neighbors just think I’m a friend picking up your mail.”

Well, we have been saying this for awhile, but now you have heard it from the horse’s mouth! It is quite easy for identity thieves to gain access to your personal information from your curbside mailbox. They can even steal your mail in broad daylight! That’s why it’s so important to use a high security locking mailbox.

Some other noteworthy points made:

Even with all the new technology, most of us still steal your information the old-fashioned way: by swiping your wallet or purse, going through your mail, or Dumpster diving.

This exactly confirms what was uncovered by Javelin Strategy Research and reported here on our blog. Most identity theft occurs via low-tech methods including stolen wallets, mail and trash.

I dig through Dumpsters in broad daylight. If anyone asks (and no one does), I just say my girlfriend lost her ring, or that I may have thrown my keys away by mistake.

This just goes to show you how brazen some identity thieves are. They know how to avoid arousing suspicions!

How much is your information worth? I can buy stolen account information—your name, address, credit card number, and more—for $10 to $50 per account from hackers who advertise on more than a dozen black market web sites.

This point lends support to the argument that identity thieves often work together in a ring. The people who steal your mail (or wallet, trash, etc.) are not necessarily the same people as those who use the documents. If a mail thief is simply looking for a quick fix, he/she can often sell your mail to (or trade for drugs with) other criminals who then use the information. Alternatively, they can sell your personal information online to cyber criminals. There are complex networks out there of people who, once they get your hands on your information, can profit endlessly from your good name.

To read more about what identity thieves don’t you to know, go to the Reader’s Digest article here.

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