How to Prevent Theft of Outgoing Mail

Identity theft is becoming more common all the time. The reason is because identity theft is such an easy and low risk crime to commit. The vast majority of criminals who practice ID theft do not get caught. Most police departments are staffed with competent hardworking officers and detectives. But in the current economic climate, these police departments are under budgeted. They will usually deploy their resources to violent crimes. Non-violent crimes like identity theft usually don't get the time and attention they need.

Furthermore, identity thieves are notoriously hard to catch. They typically use aliases and they move addresses often. Many times ID thieves live in another city or another state. In order to catch them, your police department has to work with the police department in the city or state where the ID thief lives. This type of collaboration between police departments is possible, but it can be difficult at best.

The very best way to deal with identity theft is to prevent it in the first place. Even in the modern age of computer hackers and digital crime, the majority of identity theft happens the old fashioned way, mail theft.

You can protect your incoming mail by purchasing one of the many locking mailboxes available on the market. However, for people who live in residences where the mail is delivered house to house, US Post Office regulations do not allow for the securing of outgoing mail (only incoming mail can be locked in a locking mailbox). Outgoing mail has to be put into a clip or receptacle that is easy for your letter carrier to get.

Most outgoing mail is twice as sensitive as incoming mail. Think of receiving a credit card bill in you incoming mail. This is sensitive because it has your credit card number, name and address on it. However, think of paying your credit card bill with a check, and then putting it in the outgoing mail. Not only would the contents of the envelope contain all the information from your credit card statement, but it would also contain your bank, checking account number, and signature.

Always take any type of sensitive outgoing mail (anything with financial information on it) to a Post Office, or to one of the blue mailboxes the Post Office owns. The only outgoing you should put in your home mailbox would be personal letters, or invitations to parties, etc. Taking common sense steps like this will go a long way to helping prevent you from being a victim of identity theft.