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Mailboxes can be goldmines for identity thieves

Tips from Better Business Bureau


Bank statements and bills contain personal identifiers that could prompt sophisticated impersonators to attempt to hijack accounts. Pre-approved credit card offers are invitations for crooks to open new lines of credit under other people’s names.

Basic junk mailings contain names and addresses that could attract dumpster-divers who sell contact information as leads to outside marketers. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than 50 percent of junk mail is discarded — not recycled.

To counter these problems, Better Business Bureau recommends the following:

  • Retrieve mail quickly. Notify the post office to hold mail if out of town.

  • Consider investing in locking mailboxes or P.O. boxes.

  • Shred unneeded mail; do not just throw it away.

  • Go paperless with secure online statements.

  • Avoid signing up for unnecessary programs or services.

  • Opt-out from bulk mailing lists.

    In honor of these tips, the Better Business Bureau hosts “Secure Your ID Day” on Oct. 20. Local consumers and business owners will be securely shredding junk mail and other personal documents — and all shreddings will be recycled.

    Better Business Bureau’s serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington will offer proactive resources to help reduce unwanted paperwork.

    To stop receiving unsolicited mail, contact the Direct Marketing Association at 212-768-7277, ext. 1888, or contact them online at dmachoice.org.

    To stop receiveing pre-approved credit card offers contact the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry at 1-888-567-8688 or online at optoutprescreen.com.

    To stop receiving catalogs, coupons and resident mailings ask senders directly.




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