The reality is that unsecured, curbside mailboxes are prime targets for people who are intent on committing the crime of identity theft. Although I would suggest to stop using the mail to send and receive identity documents, this is not always possible. Therefore, here are alternative suggestions:
Lock Box. Install a locking mailbox that can be accessed only by you. These generally have a mail slot that allows the postal service to put mail into the box. Many newer neighborhoods already have some form of locking mailboxes.
P.O. Box. If a locking mailbox is not possible, get a P.O. box at your local post office and have sensitive documents sent there. It is a little bit more work, but gives you much more privacy.
In Person. When mailing sensitive documents, walk them into the post office and hand them to a postal worker. If it is after hours, drop the mail through an internal slot in the building. If there is no internal mailing slot, mail it the following day. This cuts out the most vulnerable stages of mailing.
UPS/FedEx. Have identity documents sent by UPS or FedEx and make sure that you require a signature for delivery. This makes the information harder to steal and you can track its location at anytime, which will alert you if the document isn’t delivered in a timely manner or is diverted somewhere else.
Send Checks to the Bank. Have sensitive documents (like new checks or credit cards) sent to your bank rather than to your home address. Pick them up there.
Watch for Cards. When new credit cards are coming through the mail, watch for them and call the credit card company if they don’t arrive in 7 to 10 days.
Quick Retrieval. If you are unable to install a locking mailbox and don’t have access to P.O. boxes, retrieve any mail within an hour or two of delivery. This lowers the exposure time of your mail.
According to the Identity Fraud Survey Report by Javelin Strategy & Research, 8% of all known identity theft is committed by mail fraud and the misuse can last for up to 175 days. But mail fraud is very difficult to catch, which means that the numbers are probably significantly higher. Just by protecting your mail against Identity Theft you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim by at least 8%.
John Sileo became America’s leading Identity Theft Speaker & Expert after he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft and data breach. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more about having him speak at your next meeting or conference, contact him by [intlink id=”15″ type=”page” anchor=”Contact John Sileo”]email[/intlink] or on 800.258.8076.