Stealing of Mail

By: Randy Vezina

The identity thief or one of his/her crew will simply walk up to your home and steel your mail and they are hoping for bank statements, credit card statements, tax forms, pre-approved credit card offers, new checks and anything else that will allow them to steal your identity. And don't expect them to be dressed in a manner that will give them away and make them stand out in your neighborhood. Please remember that they do not want to get caught and this is their livelihood.

Imagine what it means to an identity thief to get his/her hands on your pre-approved credit card offer or tax statement, that's pure gold to them and these thieves are bold. They put some thought into their visit to your neighborhood, so be vigilant. If you live in a rural area it may be even easier because some rural residents can't even see their mailbox from the house.

Perhaps its time to invest in a lockable mailbox, at least you will slow them down. You may want to consider opting into the paperless electronic billing and statements that banks, utility companies, credit card issuers and major businesses now offer.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service, and investigates cases of identity theft. The USPIS has primary jurisdiction in all matters infringing on the integrity of the U.S. mail. If an identity thief has stolen your mail to get new credit cards, bank or credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, or tax information, or obtained your personal information through fraud conducted by mail, report it to your nearest postal inspector. You can locate the nearest USPIS district office by phoning your local postal office, viewing the Blue Pages of your phone book or log on at www.usps.gov/websites/depart/inspect

Some other good tips are to pick-up your mail as soon as possible after delivery or ask a neighbor to retrieve it right after delivery. If you are going away from home then ask the same neighbor to hold your mail for you. You may want to contact your Postal Office and ask if they will put a temporary hold on your mail, until you arrive home from your holiday etc. You may also want to contact an agency that will remove you from all pre-approved/pre-screened credit mailing lists.

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