About 18 years ago I learned that my accountant (my own brother) embezzled $2 million dollars from me. I am personally well aware of what can happen when a criminal gains access to your financial accounts. Today's criminals use all manner of technology to steal from their victims (and many times it is a relative or close friend). The focus in recent years has been on online breaches, but low tech means of thievery are still alive and well. One significant vulnerability may be sitting right at the end of your driveway - your mailbox.
We had several incidents of mail theft in our neighborhood a few years back. As a result, I installed a mailbox alarm that sounds four loud chimes when my mailbox is opened. Since I work most days from home, this is my cue to go out and grab the mail (before someone else does). Additionally, I have all of my business mail delivered to a box at the local UPS Store. Make no mistake the items in your everyday mail are exactly what identity thieves need to steal your identity.
A New Way To Protect Yourself From Mail Theft
A smart thief will not take all of your mail, but will grab things like bank and credit card statements and leave the rest. In 2017 the United States Postal Service began the roll-out of a program called Informed Delivery. The service is free and is now available just about everywhere in the United States. After registering and verifying your identity you can digitally preview your mail. Users can view greyscale images of the exterior, address side of incoming letter-sized mailpieces (not the inside contents) via email or an online dashboard. Once you become aware of the mail that is on its way you will be aware of mail that was sent to you that never arrived.
I can think of so many great uses and benefits of this program other than mail theft awareness. How many times have you been on the lookout for a check that was supposed to be 'on its way' or an important financial statement you needed to complete your tax return? If you are traveling and having a friend pick up your mail or having it held at the post office, you can see in real time the mail that is on its way. This even works for post office boxes, which means that maybe you could limit your trips to the post office to once a week (unless you see something important in your online dashboard).
Other Stories Here On Identity Theft And Credit:
Identity Theft Program I Use And Recommend
I have been personally using IDShield for over a decade. I believe so much in the product that I became an affiliate. What I like the most is the mobile app that alerts me in real time of credit pulls, credit applications, and even things like my driver's license or passport number ending up on the dark web (you can set it up to monitor everyone in your household, including children's Social Security numbers). To find out more Click Here.
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