How to Protect Yourself from Mail Theft and Identity Theft

Mail theft is a really common cause of identity theft. Learn how to protect yourself.
Mail theft is a really common cause of identity theft. Learn how to protect yourself.

Learn More About Identity Theft

Be Especially Aware at the Start of a New Year!

Sadly there are many different ways that thieves can steal your identity. As we spend more and more time connected to the web on a variety of different devices, the risks just grow. However, one of the most common ways for thieves to get hold of your identity is an old school way – through the mail. The problem increases in January due to the large number of financial statements that come through the mail at this time. Make sure that you protect yourself by being aware of any missing documents before it’s too late.

How to Protect Yourself from Mail Theft

Follow these steps to make sure that you don’t become a victim of mail theft in the busy month of January:

o Make a list of all of the financial documents that you should receive during the month of January. These documents are related to your taxes and may include:

o W2 forms from any of your employers (or 1099 forms if you’re self-employed as an independent contractor)

o End-of-the-year interest statements from all of your banks

o Statements related to retirement accounts

o Mortgage interest statements from your lender

o Take this list and turn it into a spreadsheet. This is the best way to keep track of the documents to make sure that you receive everything that you are supposed to receive. List the document, where it should come from and when it was received.

o Review your spreadsheet on February 1st. All financial forms for taxes are supposed to be sent to you during the month of January and no later. On February first, check out your spreadsheet to make sure that you’ve received everything.

o Update the spreadsheet for any items not received. Add an additional column to the spreadsheet for any items that you did not receive in January. This column will reflect when the items were reportedly sent out by the employer or financial institution.

o Start contacting the senders immediately. For every item on the list that has not been received, call the person who was supposed to send it. Confirm with them that the item was sent and what date the item was sent on. If the item was not sent, ask for the date that it will be sent. If the item was sent, confirm that it was sent to the correct address.

o Get your credit report. If there are items that should have been received (they were sent to the right address and have had enough time to arrive) then there’s a good chance that you’ve become a victim of mail theft. Immediately order your free credit report from each of the three credit bureau agencies and check for any unusual activity.

o File a fraud alert with the credit bureaus. This way the agencies know to keep an eye out for unusual activity on your account in the months to come. If you are especially concerned you can even freeze your account.Experian has a good explanation of the pros and cons of doing this.

o Monitor your credit carefully in the months to come. It can take many months for people to start using your identity after they have stolen. Often these thieves actually sell your information to others and that process takes time. Monitor the issue to nip the problem in the bud if it does happen to you.

Be aware of the risks for mail-based identity fraud during tax document season and protect yourself accordingly!

Source: LiveScience

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Comments 12 comments

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

I don't receive any important financial documents in the mail anymore. I take advantage of paperless statements for everything. And I use a different email address to receive those statements that no one else knows. That adds double protection.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for your good advice.

Neverletitgo profile image

Neverletitgo 6 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

Very nice tips and I liked. Thanks for sharing. Hey why don't visit my hub? I really appreciate if you visit. Thanks again.

fucsia profile image

fucsia 6 years ago

Very useful Hub. Thanks for sharing

sligobay profile image

sligobay 6 years ago from east of the equator

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy ,healthy, and prosperous New Year. Thank you for a very timely and useful caveat. i always need specific instructions on how to do everything. Cheers.

Amy M Bradley 6 years ago

This is so great, that somebody is addressing this problem. I haven't had any worries, nor anybody I know. Yet, I do believe the very reason for that is since we take special care not to become victims of this crime. I also agree, that January is a targeted time of the year for these criminals to try and pray on people, unfortunately rings very true with everything you here of crime on the news, much is centered around whe we would least expect it at our most vonerable of times.

Alternative Prime profile image

Alternative Prime 6 years ago from > California

Hi Kathryn,

Great info for everyone to use as a precaution.

A few years ago someone tried to commit fraud by using my credit card to purchase over $4000 worth of merchandise. Fortunately the company flagged my account before the order went through.

One of the things I learned during the process is this type of action is not considered a crime against the cardholder, but a crime against the credit card company itself. So there's not a thing the credit card holder can do legally, it's up to the company to pursue the person who committed the fraud.

It can turn out to be a very frustrating experience and your words of wisdom will hopefully help a few people to avoid this type of situation.

CassidyS profile image

CassidyS 6 years ago from OK

Good information! Rated it up!

simeonvisser profile image

simeonvisser 6 years ago

That's an interesting problem. I was not aware of that but then, I'm not really receiving that much post in January each year :)

li smith ion-eco profile image

li smith ion-eco 6 years ago from Hermanus, South Africa

Thank you for sharing a subject we all need to reflect on!

onceuponatime66 profile image

onceuponatime66 6 years ago from USA IL

I agree that this 2010 of Dec is the best time to publish this hub on identity theft.

rampage30 profile image

rampage30 6 years ago

Great time time of year to publish this one with all of the financial information floating around for tax season.

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