What Gets Stolen From Paper Documents: Identity Theft

Posted by Ray Barry

People throw junk mail and other papers away without thinking twice about what information could be gleaned from those documents. Your address is a big piece of the puzzle when someone is trying to steal your identity. As part of identity theft prevention, you should shred any piece of paper with your address, phone number or other identifying information on it.

Additionally, go paperless. This limits the amount of mail you get that could have any personal information on it. And, it’s easier to save documents you need in a file on your computer. You could also print them out if you are the type who has to have that piece of paper for your file. This way, you are only printing what you need and you don’t have to worry about getting rid of the cover sheet with your address on it.

Prevent Identity Theft from Stolen Mail

What can you do to help fight identity theft? Start with your own mail. Instead of taking a chance on someone stealing your mail to get that important piece of the puzzle to complete a profile to steal your identity, take steps to minimize theft.

  • Pick up your mail as soon as possible. If you are gone for even a day, have a trusted neighbor or relative pick up your mail.

  • If you are going to put mail into the box for the mailman to pick up, put it in the box as close to the pickup time as possible. Or, to be completely safe, drop it off inside the post office. If you use the blue collection boxes, take the same precautions of dropping off mail close to the pickup time.

  • If you are expecting mail and do not receive It, call the sender to ask about the mail.

  • Never send cash through the mail.

  • Arrange for someone to pick up packages if you are not home to receive them. Or, have the post office hold the package until your return date.

  • When you are shipping a package, use the “hold for pickup” option. The recipients will be required to pick up their packages at the post office.

  • Request signature confirmation for packages you send.

  • File a change of address when you move so that all mail is routed to your new address instead of sitting in the box or having the chance of others getting your mail.

  • Shred everything!

Prevent Identity Theft from Stolen Garbage

Learn how to prevent identity theft by thinking of everything — identity theft could also happen when someone steals your garbage. Something as simple as an old bill could get you into lots of trouble. The thief just needs the name of the company billing you, the amount due, the previous amount you paid or other information to convince you to give him or her additional information. Once the thief has everything he or she needs, you can count your money gone.

Identity Theft What to Do

In a nutshell, shred everything. Contact Carolina Shred to discuss setting up an account for monthly or quarterly shredding. We provide lock boxes for businesses to hold sensitive documents. If you are an individual, contact us about shredding documents you no longer need.