We are about to enter the holiday season and many people will be getting deliveries from the United State Postal Service of valuable items in addition to your normal deliveries of sensitive and important mail such as credit card statements.  In 2017 the United States Postal Service began its Informed Delivery Program which is a good, but not perfect program which I urge you to enroll in.   The Informed Delivery Program is a free service of the U.S. Postal Service that will send you an email each morning with images of the mail you will be receiving later that day.  This service was first done on a pilot basis in 2014 in parts of California, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. and became available to everyone three years later.   Identity theft through the stealing of mail such as credit card statements and bank statements from your mailbox is a significant problem and this program both alerts you as to when to look for important mail, as well as let you know if such important mail has been stolen from your mailbox so you can respond more quickly. However,  nothing is full proof.  Last year I told you about the identity theft of more than thirty-five people living in the same Miramar, Florida neighborhood caused by criminals exploiting flaws in the program.  These criminals criminals signed up for the program in the names of their victims and were able to see when credit card statements and other mail containing personal information would be delivered so that they were alerted as to when to steal the mail from the mail boxes of their victims and gain access to their credit cards as well as sign her up for additional cards which they also exploited. While in order to set up an Informed Delivery account, you need to answer security questions, the information necessary to answer those questions can often be readily obtained online.

TIPS

The best way to avoid this problem is to sign up for the Informed Delivery Program before an identity thief does so in your name.  Here is the link to go to sign up.

https://informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action

It is also important to note that if you do sign up for the service, you should use a unique and complex password to prevent identity thieves from hacking your account to let them know when important mail that they can exploit for identity theft purposes will be arriving to your home.

You also should consider securing your home mailbox to help protect you from criminals cruising your neighborhood and stealing mail.

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