Did you know there may be a dangerous item located at the end of your driveway? It looks harmless from the outside, but what’s inside of your mailbox could be putting your identity at risk. Over the last couple of months, we have seen an increase in mail fraud. Your mailbox is the riskiest non-technological point for identity theft and fraud, and mail theft is on the rise. Royal Credit Union wants to help you protect yourself and your family from becoming a victim.
Mail theft can be a one-time incident or occur over an extended period on multiple occasions. Some thieves steal mail if the opportunity presents itself, while others may carry out a plan and target specific businesses or households. Thieves who target their victims may steal pieces of mail sporadically until they have all the information they need to commit fraud against you or a family member.
Forging documents is no longer your only concern when it comes to stealing documents out of your mailbox. Thieves are getting more creative every day in their attempts to access your personal information. One of their biggest targets is personal checks. Thieves have been caught “fishing” for envelopes out of mailboxes with strings attached to mouse traps, bottles, and other materials covered in glue. They then use chemicals to wash out writing on checks and only leave the signature. When the writing is erased, thieves can rewrite the check and even use the victim’s bank information to forge more checks.
Delivered mail is also an issue. You may not always know what mail you are receiving before it reaches your house. If something is stolen, you may not be aware that an important document with private information is missing. Pay close attention to your mail delivery schedule, carriers, and take precautions to protect your mail.
If you place checks, bills, and other personal information in your mailbox to be picked up by mail carriers the following day, you are more likely to fall victim to mail theft. Leaving the mailbox flag up overnight can be an invitation for identity theft and fraud. Here are some tips to safeguard your personal information and protect yourself:
- Consider paying bills online through the Royal mobile app or from online banking
- Send outgoing mail from a post office instead of your personal mailbox
- When sending mail from home, put out your contents shortly before pick up time
- Request signature confirmations when mailing an important item or payment
Mail theft can happen to anyone. Taking these precautions will help you avoid risk and protect yourself! If you have concerns about fraudulent activity or believe you are a victim of mail theft, contact us right away.