There are various ways to commit identity theft; it ranges from the simple modus of taking personal information from discarded receipts and documents to the technical modus of using specialized software. As these modus operandi progresses, the authorities find it also necessary to level up the protection and virtual security of the consumers as identity theft prevention. In essence, identity theft perpetrators try to use other mediums to commit the crime. One of the mediums now being used is the snail mail.
Upon realizing that some snail mails contain personal information which could also be a source of personal information of a person, some identity theft perpetrators now devised some ways to intercept the mails being delivered to residential addresses. What they usually do is contact your bank or other businesses you have credit into and divert the mail by sending it elsewhere by giving them a new home address or through a change-of-address form. Based on investigations of WCBS, a New-York based television station; this has been the latest trick in identity theft. This method requires no ID, and not much effort to file for a fake change-of-address card. Although the number of fraudulently filed change of address forms at present is only small, its impact is huge since bank statements, unapproved credit card forms and other information are passed through identify thieves who claims their stolen identity.
A nonprofit consumer advocacy group Privacy Rights Clearinghouse reports that about 100 million or more records have been stolen since 2005 from Americans. Basically, this robbed information includes Security number, employer name and bank accounts which are essential and can be used in great monetary loss to the victims.
In order to avoid falling victim to this modus operandi and protect identity theft, Whitney M.T of Natural News suggests the following measures:
- If you are religiously receiving mails at your home, took notice if you would not receive any mail for a couple of days especially if other household members are receiving theirs. Note: change of address identity theft could only target a sole individual and would not necessarily affect everyone in the household. If you notice this change in the pattern of mail delivery.
- Instead of using your home mailbox, how about trying public mailbox. Public mailbox would prove to be much safer as compared to your own mailbox since it is being mailed to a general address and there would be little probability that criminals could track you your bills and important letters once it is mailed there. Also, make it a point to collect your mails on the public mailbox before the final collection time for the mailbox because the identity theft perpetrators are observed to be stealing and tampering the public mailboxes during nighttime when there are lesser people that may see them.
- Get your mails as soon as its arrives in your mailbox. Make a habit to check your mailbox regularly and getting your letters once it arrives. You should not leave your mails placed on the inbox overnight to lessen the risk that identity thieves could get these. You may also consider getting electronic sensors which could alert you that your mailbox has been opened to secure your mailboxes.
- Use locks on your mailbox. As an added precaution, use sturdy locks on your mails to keep the thieves from opening it easily and having access to your mails and your important information.
- Immediately report to the authorities if you see some irregularities in your mail delivery. Know that there are certain procedures being followed if you have to change your address and this is process still needs to be validated to you by your banks so if you fail to receive your due mails on time, this is a sign of identity theft and there is a large possibility that you are being tracked and that identity theft perpetrators are getting and using your mails. Thus, you must immediately notify the authorities about this and notify your bank and other businesses you have accounts to and briefed them on the situation so that they may stop sending your bills on this new reported address.