Identity Theft and Outgoing Mail

It seems like every month we hear another news story about large companies who have lost or compromised large amounts of consumer data. While it is important to keep on top of these situations and be careful who you submit your personal information to, the vast majority of identity theft occurs through old fashioned low tech methods.

These include things like getting a purse or a wallet stolen, or getting mail stolen. The first piece of advice I give everybody is never put your outgoing mail in your mailbox with the flag up. Having a flag was a great idea 50 years ago to notify your mail carrier that you had outgoing mail. However, now it is just an invitation to identity thieves to come and take your mail. You are making it easy for them to know who you are, you have a RED FLAG sticking up telling them that you have outgoing mail.

The outgoing mail is the most likely kind of mail to include your sensitive information. For example, lets say you are paying your credit card bill with a check and you put it in the outgoing mail. The identity thief now has your credit card number, your address, your checking account number, and your name. With this information it is incredibly easy for the criminal to begin stealing your identity.

Never put your outgoing mail in your mailbox, even if it is a locking mailbox like a MailCase. The safest bet is to take it directly to the post office, and the next safest bet is to take it to the blue mailboxes used by the United States Post Office.