So much talk happens surrounding online Identity Theft, that people often forget about how Identity Theft can take place in the real (physical) world.
If I am a real-world identity thief, and I don’t want to use real methods (instead of virtual methods like hacking) one of the tools I have in my arsenal of ways to get your information is to use the United States Postal Service.
Now you might think this is as simple as just locking your mailbox, but that won’t help you in this situation. One thing that identity thieves can do is actually go to the post office and have your mail put on hold and pick it up themselves.
But many aren’t that gutsy, or that dumb. You might not have been aware of this, or more likely, you probably just haven’t thought about it, but if an Identity Thief is willing to go in to a United States Postal Service post office, they can actually just write out a change of address form using the convenient USPS “moving” kit, without ever needing verification.
However, many identity thieves don’t like doing that because they know that they may leave their fingerprints on the post card for the change of address. Even if they manage to avoid the fingerprints, there is a paper trail with either their signature or, at minimum, their handwriting, which can be used for analysis and possible conviction later.
So, many of the smarter identity thieves know that they can put in a change of address online at the postal service web site, and they can make this change to your address with a gift card. How this works is that they can go out and buy a prepaid credit card somewhere. An Identity Thief know that it’s simple to put any name you want onto a prepaid credit card. liteblue
All that the US Postal requires for you to do a change of address on the computer is register your new address and show a credit card as verification.Liteblue USPS Gov Login So, when the identity thief applies for that change of address on the US Postal Service’s website, the name on the card matches the name associated with the address that you want to forward mail from. The post office will process the change of address for your mail. What that means is that your mail will then be sent to wherever that Identity Thief decided to change your address to.
I don’t know what you get in your mailbox, but most people’s mail is like a non-stop ATM machine for Identity Thieves.
By changing your address for even just a few days, could an Identity Thief amass enough information from your mail to become you, and more importantly, what can you do to stop thieves from getting your information this way?
Unfortunately, not a lot. Outside of checking your mail daily and watching for any unusual slow-downs or stoppages in the amount of mail you receive, this is, for now, an area where your information could be stolen rather easily.