What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of your personal information, such as name, address, and mother’s maiden name, in order to impersonate an unsuspecting person. This information enables criminals to commit numerous forms of fraud which include, taking over your financial accounts, purchasing automobiles, applying for loans, credit cards, social security benefits, renting apartments and establishing services with utility and telephone companies. Identity theft has increased 100% over the years; victims are young and old alike.
Internet and Online Services
When you enter any interactive service site, beware of con artists who may ask you to “confirm” your enrollment service by disclosing passwords or the credit card account number used to subscribe. Do not give them out. If you are in doubt attempt to contact them by telephone and verify. Use caution when disclosing banking accounts numbers, credit card numbers, or other personal financial data at any web site or on-line service location unless you receive a secure authentication key from the provider. When you subscribe to an on-line service, you may be asked to give credit card information.
Protect Yourself Against Mail Theft
The convenience of putting outgoing mail in an unsecured curbside mail box could make you vulnerable to mail theft, often resulting in identity theft! The postman is signaled by red flags in the upward position on mailboxes that there is outgoing mail to be picked up; likewise, the same signal alerts mail thieves that there is outgoing mail. To a mail thief, the red flag represents easy access to credit card information, bank statements, bank checks, tax payments and other types of personal information to be used for fraudulent activity.
In addition to the ease of access, mail thieves are aware that it may take awhile before a victim realizes that something is amiss. When outbound letters vanish, it may take some time before it is discovered that the mail did not reach its intended destination. The disappearance of inbound mail can easily go unnoticed; the first sign of fraud might come as quickly as the next credit card statement. If you would like a packet sent to you, please fill out a form with the information.
What Can I Do to Minimize my Exposure to Mail Theft?
- Never put outbound mail into an unsecured mailbox, especially if it contains checks or sensitive personal information. Instead, take it to a United States Post Office (USPO) or place it in a USPO mail collection box.
- Use a locking mail box for incoming mail. Contact your local Postmaster at 303-792-3799, for regulations and specifications regarding the installation of locking mailboxes.
- Remove mail from your mailbox promptly.
- Have blank check orders held at your bank for you to pick up personally.
- Do not have mail delivered while you are out of town. Have the post office hold your mail until you return.
- Make sure you are informed when sensitive mail has been sent to you, and follow up quickly if it does not arrive as expected.
- If you believe you have been victimized in a mail fraud scheme that involves the United States mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the United States Postal Inspection Service.
- Contact the Greenwood Village Police Department, at 303-773-2525 for assistance.