Secure mailboxes offer protection against the fast growing crime of mail-ID theft
What we do on this site is try to inform consumers of the prevalence of mail theft and identity theft, and to teach them the best ways to protect their sensitive information and their identities. One component of this protection is a security locking mailbox, and our product – the Mail Boss locking mailbox – is one of the best security mailboxes available.
Now, it should not be news to anyone that identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, and that many opportunistic criminals steal mail from unlocked mailboxes to gather sensitive information on their victims. But you don’t have to take our word for it! Here’s a recent story on America’s fastest growing crime; notice it explicitly states that unlocked mailboxes leave you – and your identity – vulnerable.
Identity theft: America’s fastest growing crime from the Pittsburgh Examiner
“[…] Identity Theft is America’s fastest growing crime. In Pennsylvania the number of victims of identity theft runs into the tens of thousands. There are numerous ways a criminal can obtain one’e identity. Some of the more obvious methods of obtaining identifying information would be; stealing a person’s preapproved credit card applications from their mail [emphasis added], a store employee recording credit card numbers […] or stealing someone’s wallet or purse and using the credit cards contained inside.”
It’s not all gloom and doom, though. Identity theft is easily preventable. Here is a comprehensive list of things you can do to protect yourself from the fastest growing crime in America. We have included some of our favorite tips for protecting your identity at home below.
Tips for fighting identity theft: At home
Opt out. Get your name out of circulation for preapproved credit offers by contacting the credit bureaus at 1-888-567-8688 or optoutprescreen.com.
Lock up your mail. If you can’t fetch your mail as soon as it’s delivered, get a locking mailbox or install a mail chute to prevent thieves from plucking out envelopes that contain personal information. Mail bills from a corner box or the post office. (You can arrange to have your mail held when you’re away by contacting the U.S. Postal Service online or by calling 1-800-275-8777.
Leave your Social Security number home. Never carry your Social Security card with you unless you know you’ll need it that day.
Watch your wallet. The stuff in your wallet is a gold mine – and it’s not just the money. Don’t leave purses in grocery cart baskets or set them on the floor without looping a strap around your ankle. Never leave a purse or wallet in an unattended car.
Shred sensitive info. Shred or tear up documents with personal information on them, including bills and credit card statements, before you throw them away. If you have a fireplace, burn them.
Check your credit report. You’re entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus. (I recommend ordering from a different credit bureau every four months.) When you get your report, make sure accounts listed on your report are yours and that any company listed as having viewed your report had a legitimate reason to do so. To get your report, call 1-877-322-8228 or visit the only official site for a free credit report www.annualcreditreport.com. (If you get a site asking you to pay for a report, you mistyped the address.
Some officials are trying to help the public realize the prevalence of identity theft, and spread information to help consumers protect themselves. Here’s a highlight from this story on a major data breach in Utah that has some people worried about their identities:
State protection for victims of identity theft
“The best thing is prevention, protecting sensitive information from those who would steal it. “The mail is a really easy target. Once the mail man comes and delivers the mail there are people who will go out and get your mail looking for information” [emphasis added]. Another problem area can be your garbage can. […] People should always shred sensitive documents not just throw them away.”
It seems for the time being, mail identity theft is not going away. Opportunistic criminals are increasingly targeting unlocked mailboxes, and as more and more people convert to locking mailboxes, they will start to prey on “locked” mailboxes with poor security. It is important for consumers to know that not all locking mailboxes are created equal – in fact, most can be violated in just seconds by hand or with a screwdriver.
So, if you’re looking to protect yourself from the nation’s fastest growing crime of identity theft with a secure locking mailbox, make sure you do your research and get a good one!