10 ways to protect your mail
The physical mail that you send and receive often includes contents that need to be protected. Thieves and other scam artists could steal and exploit mail that contains anything from account numbers to checks, so it's important to have some security measures in place. Here are 10 suggestions for keeping your mail secure:
1. Reduce your mail, reduce your risk.
Use these online services to reduce the amount of mail you get and increase your security:
- Online banking
- Online bill payment
- Online statements
- Direct deposit
2. Use a secure mailbox.
Consider getting a lockable mailbox, a post office box or a private mailbox at a shipping and delivery store to reduce the risk of anyone stealing your mail.
3. Don't leave your mail unattended.
If you’ll be unable to retrieve your mail for more than a day or two, ask a family member or trusted friend to pick up your mail. You can also have your post office hold your mail until you return.
4. Send outgoing mail securely.
When mailing payments, always use tamper-resistant checks or money orders and send them from a blue drop-off mailbox or from a post office.
5. Keep your address information current.
If you move or change your address, notify the post office and anyone with whom you do business by mail.
6. Be on the lookout for mail thieves.
If you see suspicious individuals around your mailbox, contact the post office and the police.
7. Shred your junk mail.
Shred your junk mail instead of throwing it in the trash. Identity thieves will take information in whatever way they can get it, even by digging through your trash.
8. Keep track of any valuable mail you expect to receive.
If you’re expecting a check or other valuable piece of mail and don’t receive it, contact the sender. You can confirm when they sent the mail and ask them to stop payment on a check if necessary.
9. Respond to unexpected changes in your mail service.
If you suddenly stop receiving any mail, contact the post office to determine if someone has submitted a request in your name for a change in service.
10. Keep your mail out of sight.
Once you've gotten your mail from the mailbox, don’t leave it anywhere that criminals could get their hands on it. Carry sensitive outgoing mail with you only if you intend to send it that day.
Minimize your risk of identity theft by knowing the warning signs and learning ways to protect yourself, both online and offline.
Document shredding and retention guidelines
Protect your personal and confidential information by disposing of sensitive documents in the right way at the right time.