The Check Isn’t the Only Thing in the Mail

As more of us turn to digital resources like mobile notifications, emails and text messages for our primary communication, traditional mail service has become something we don’t often think about. Unfortunately, fewer trips to the mailbox leaves your personal information vulnerable to fraudsters who can use “snail mail” as a way to steal your identity.

Mail theft and fraud is an ongoing risk for U.S. citizens and can range from simple stealing of mail from a person’s mailbox or garbage bin to complex fraud schemes. In fact, the U.S. Postal Service keeps tabs on the most current fraud schemes that often lure people in through temptation, fear, and empty promises.

Origin Bank is here to help with tips to keep your information safe so you can avoid falling prey to mail theft and fraud scams:

  1. Be wary of mail offers that seem too good to be true. If you receive offers by mail that ask for your personal information in exchange for things like an inheritance you didn’t know about, rescuing missing people, health and medical products, foreign lottery winnings, sweepstakes, insurance, investment funds, or tax fees, do not give out your personal information.
  2. Shred all mail with sensitive information. If you receive paper bank statements, credit card or insurance offers, medical records, or other types of mail that include personal information, shred them before disposing of them. Thieves may raid your garbage bins in search of documents that contain information like your account numbers, social security number, and online login details.
  3. Use e-statements and pay bills online. It’s harder for thieves to intercept your personal information if there’s less of it in your mailbox. Sign up for electronic statements to receive monthly statements quickly and securely. Not only is it better for the environment, but there’s no paper with your account information for someone else to find. Paying bills online is also a great way to reduce the amount of sensitive information coming through the postal service.
  4. Don’t leave mail unattended in your mailbox for long periods of time. If you are traveling, sign up for USPS's hold mail service to stop your mail from arriving while you are away or ask a trusted neighbor to collect your mail for you. It’s also smart to pause your newspaper delivery service while you are away so that thieves have fewer clues that nobody is home. And remember to hold social media posts about your time away until after you return home.
  5. Drop-off important mail pieces. If you are sending mail that includes personal information, a credit card number, cash or check, drop it off at a secure postal drop box or office instead of leaving it in your mailbox unattended.

For more tips on keeping your mail and your identity safe, check out the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's mail protection tips. And never hesitate to contact Origin Bank if you need help or have questions about how to keep your information safe and secure.