1. Never put outbound mail into an unsecured mailbox, especially if it contains checks or sensitive personal information. Instead, take it to a U.S. Post Office branch or place it in a U.S.P.S. mail collection box.
2. Always use a locking mailbox for incoming mail. Install a locking mailbox approved as secure by the U.S. Postal Service or use a U.S. Post Office box. Contact your local Postmaster for regulations and specifications regarding locking mailboxes.
3. Remove mail from your mailbox promptly, especially if your mailbox is not secure. If you won’t be home when sensitive or valuable mail is delivered, have it held or have a trusted neighbor or friend retrieve it.
4. Don’t have blank checks delivered to your home address. Instead, have them held at your bank branch until you can pick them up personally.
5. Don’t have mail delivered while you’re out of town. Have the post office hold your mail if you’ll be away for an extended period.
6. Reduce the number of credit offers sent to you by mail. Contact the three major credit reporting agencies and have your credit report marked “no solicitation.”
7. Make sure you’re informed when sensitive mail has been sent to you, and follow up quickly if it doesn’t arrive as expected.
8. Consider starting or joining a Neighborhood Watch program. If you see a mail theft in progress, be a good witness by calling 911 and providing the best possible description of any persons and vehicles involved.
9. At the workplace, watch out for “Financial Friday” mail theft. Leaving mail in insecure locations over the weekend in order to leave work a little earlier is a dangerous practice that identity thieves know and exploit.
10. If you feel you’ve been victimized in a mail fraud scheme that involves the U.S. Mail, submit a Mail Fraud Complaint Form to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. If you have become a victim of identity theft, contact the FTC, the credit bureaus, and your bank, and obtain expert guidance immediately to resolve your problem as quickly as possible.
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