Mail theft is one of the most basic methods available for stealing your personal identity: thieves simply steal your mail. Though many mail thieves are just looking for cash and valuables, identity thieves know your mail contains much more. It contains personal information about your identity and your financial accounts.
How Does Mail Theft Occur?
Whether it’s taken from unlocked mailboxes, postal trucks, drop boxes, or mailbox panels, mail theft occurs whenever someone physically takes your mail without your permission. It doesn’t matter whether they are stealing the contents (i.e., cash or consumer goods), or whether they’re utilizing the personal information contained within to steal your identity—mail theft is a felony.
Information thieves can collect:
- Pre-approved card and other offers
- Social security number
- Telephone numbers
- Email address
- Credit card and bank account information
- Employment history
- Other personal information
What thieves can do with this information:
- Identity theft
- Employment-related fraud
- Loan fraud/payday loan fraud
- Bank fraud
- Benefits fraud
- Tax fraud
- Other identity fraud
† Federal Trade Commission. “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For
January – December 2011.” February 2012.
† Javelin Strategy & Research. "2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming
the New Fraud Frontier." February 2012.