Almost 20 billion packages will be delivered through the mail this holiday season. Even at $5 per package, that’s more than $100 Billion in value going through the mail–a scale too large and tempting for criminals to ignore.
Why do thieves target us during the holidays? In addition to the volume and value of holiday mail, criminals are taking advantage of the perfect winter storm:
- Trucks are overloaded, mail & UPS carriers are overworked and shoppers are overwhelmed, which makes theft easy and attractive
- Thieves take advantage not just of our good nature during the holidays, but of how distracted we are
- Criminals see our generosity of giving as a goldmine waiting to be exploited
But picking packages off of your doorstep isn’t the only type of crime that skyrockets during December. Thieves don’t just want to steal the gifts inside your packages, they want the identity information that goes along with them: credit card numbers, bank accounts, invoices, even the checks that grandma sends in a holiday card. Check washers want to soak your checks in acetone, erase the Pay To field and replacing it with the word CASH.
How do we protect our mail and packages during the holidays, or any day?
- Install a locking mailbox at your home and retrieve your mail early in the day, before criminals have a chance to steal it
- Get a PO box during heavy mailing times and use that address for packages, sensitive documents or payments
- Instead of putting outbound packages in your mailbox, drop them directly at the post office. Even the blue USPS boxes are commonly emptied by thieves at night.
- Tell Grandma to stop sending cash! It’s too easy to steal and impossible to trace.
- If you must send a physical payment through the mail, use high security checks like those provided by Deluxe.
- Use UPS or FedEx to ship packages so that you can track their progress, insure the contents and require a signature at the other end.
- If you generally aren’t at home when packages are delivered, have them shipped to your work so that they don’t sit on your porch for hours.
- Check out our 12 Days to a Safe Christmas for more tips on protecting yourself against cyber crime, party crashers and Facebook stalkers during the season.
Take these simple tips when sending gifts and cards and you won’t lose your valuable data and goods to the identity theft Grinches.