Don’t throw out that junk mail after your daily trip to the mailbox – a quick check could reveal an identity theft crime committed against you.
One way thieves can hit you is by using credit card confirmations with your card number – but somebody else’s name. ID criminals are counting on the fact that you won’t check your junk mail, which is exactly why you should take a closer look.
One Texas man almost learned that lesson the hard way. Don Sickel, a resident of Grayson County, Tex., told KTEN News recently that he was about to throw away his junk mail when he had second thoughts. Opening his mail, Sickel noticed that a credit card had been opened in another person’s name – but with his credit card number.
Ironically, one of the law enforcement officers investigating Sickel’s case told KTEN that he, too, was the victim of credit card fraud. “My own personal credit card had charges run up in California in a city I’ve never even heard of,” Sherman, Tex., police sergeant Bruce Dawsey said.
So it’s no accident that fraud investigators are advising Americans not only to check their junk mail, but also to destroy any mail offering new credit card deals. Law enforcement officials say there is enough information on those mailers – including your name, address, and possibly the name of your banking institution – to draw close interest from identity thieves.
The Better Business Bureau advises that you reduce junk mail and unsolicited credit card offers. You can get that ball rolling by visiting the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies web site. There, you can remove your name from companies offering credit card and insurance deals (the “opt out” clause is part of the Fair Credit Reporting Act).
Once you opt-out, consumer credit agencies like Experian or Equifax can’t give your credit file information to outside companies.
Just the same, keep a close eye on your junk mail. Your diligence may be the difference between keeping your identity safe – or your being the victim of an identity theft crime.
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Image: Vard Uzvards, via Flickr.com