Have you ever wanted to be someone else? No, we are not embarking on a teenage existential rant. If you want to, that is your own business. I am referring to identity theft. A rising crime in America, identity theft, especially if left undetected for a long period of time, can wreak havoc on your finances. Often times, it is a long, complicated process to get your identity back.
An easy target for identity thieves is your very own mail.
The key to reversing identity theft is, like so many things in good financial practices, prevention. Thankfully, there are a few steps to prevent identity theft via mail.
First and foremost, be very familiar with your finances, and make sure you are checking your credit report every so often. Look for fraudulent accounts, charges, etc. If you are up to date on your finances, you will know how much money is in what account, and it will be that much easier to spot mysterious money shortages. In short, take the extra time to make sure you are up to date.
Secondly, as far as mail is concerned, never, ever leave sensitive documents in your mailbox to be sent. Take these documents to the post office. If you have to leave mail somewhere overnight, the post office is the best place as well. If there is a drop box with a lock, this is also sufficient, but not one hundred percent secure. If you receive these kinds of sensitive documents, be sure they are sufficiently shredded before disposing of them.
Thirdly, tell marketers to remove your address from their mailing lists. These types of mailings contain just what identity thieves need, and by telling the marketers to stop sending mail to you, you will also cut down on your junk mail levels. On that note, be sure that information-sensitive packages and documents are sent to a place other than your home, and pick them up personally. Treat your information like it is about to be stolen, and take the necessary precautions.
Finally, if your identity has been stolen, file a fraud alert on your account immediately. Keep a close eye on your finances and figure out for certain if your mail and identity have been stolen.
Thankfully, if you follow these steps to prevent mail and identity theft, you will not have to worry about sorting out the mess that identity theft always brings.