4 Ways to Protect Against Old-School Identity Theft

What's Hot

Do This or Your iPhone Bill May SkyrocketSave

23 Upgrades Under $50 to Make Your House Look AwesomeAround The House

Trump Worth $10 Billion Less Than If He’d Simply Invested in Index FundsBusiness

11 Places in the World Where You Can Afford to Retire in StyleMore

What You Need to Know for 2017 Obamacare EnrollmentFamily

8 Things Rich People Buy That Make Them Look DumbAround The House

32 of the Highest-Paid American SpeakersMake

Amazon Prime No Longer Pledges Free 2-Day Shipping on All ItemsMore

More Caffeine Means Less Dementia for WomenFamily

9 Tips to Ensure You’ll Have Enough to RetireFamily

5 DIY Ways to Make Your Car Smell GreatCars

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

5 Spots Where Retirees Can Live for Less Than $40,000Real Estate

10 Ways to Pull Together the Down Payment for a HomeCredit & Debt

10 Ways to Reduce Your Homeowner’s Insurance RatesFamily

50 Ways to Make a Fast $50 (or Lots More)Grow

Identity theft doesn’t just happen through your computer. Otherwise savvy Americans are getting ripped off the old-fashioned way: through the U.S. mail.

When you hear that there are nearly 12 million victims of identity theft a year, what’s the first thought that leaps to mind? Someone scamming you through your computer, right?

Well, it turns out you can still be ripped off the old-fashioned way – through the mail. And the beginning of the year is the worst time for it. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reports that…

“In January, employers, banks and credit card companies mail out all of their year-end documents, including W-2s, 1099 forms, credit card summaries, and brokerage statements. Additionally, on any given day, there are more than one million credit cards in the mail stream, part of the 700 million pieces of mail delivered daily.”

That’s too enticing a lure for scammers to resist. And the way they do it is decidedly low-tech: “Walkers follow mail carriers and look through your mail for any bonanza they can find.” So what can you do?

  1. Do it daily: We check our email every other minute, but we can’t be bothered with checking our physical mailbox every day. Some ambitious thieves “go so far as to open the envelopes, copy the documents, then reseal your mail and place it in your box again a day later.”
  2. Lock it up: If your mailbox is vulnerable, consider buying one that locks. Perhaps in a testimony to how prevalent mail theft is, you can find dozens of them just by Googling “locking mailbox.” Even Amazon sells one.
  3. Box it in: It might be worth paying a few bucks for a P.O. box for sensitive mail. Adds the ITRC, “The Post Office does background checks on employees and uses surveillance equipment.”
  4. Hold it up: You know how the post office can hold your mail for vacations? The ITRC has a clever idea: “During this critical month, have your mail held at the post office, with photo identification required for pick up.”

If you suspect mail theft, you can file a complaint with the Postal Inspector’s Office – which, ironically, you can do online.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: How Does Debt Affect Survivors After a Loved One’s Death?

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,681 more deals!