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February 09, 2011


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Our mail delivery people are a little over-aggressive, as well.

I try to shred anything with my name on it before disposing of it.

All my outgoing mail goes through the office--one of the weird fringe benefits of our office is that all the employees get free use of the postage meter.

Ditch the non-locking mailbox. Get a high quality steel locking mailbox - your identity is worth much more than the cost of the mailbox. My parents have one and they love it. There isn't a way for the postal worker to pick up mail, but that's kind of the point - to not have mail available to steal. The slot is big enough for large envelopes and small packages like books and has a baffle so you can't reach in. I believe it mounts from the inside to make it harder to remove.

I live on a busy street so I have a locking mailbox with a keypad code for entry; it's huge and almost indestructable. The keypad makes it easily accessible whenever, since I don't have to carry a key.

I had first looked at mail alerts, that would tell me when the mail was delivered, but the locking box works out better.

I never mail from work anymore. I once mailed an important letter with SS# from work. The mail clerk missed the Friday cutoff, so he took it home and mailed it from his home mailbox...flag up. Lo and behold, the mail was stolen.

I have a freeze on our accounts with all three credit bureaus. Its a bit cumbersome if I want credit as I have to pay $10 to lift the freeze, but that's only happened twice in 5 years. Although not impossible, it would make it very difficult for someone to steal my credit idenitity.

I shred everything even if it just has my name or address or the name/address of the sender, including envelopes, etc. That way a dumpster diver can't know details of my life including where I bank or trade.

My mail goes through a slot next to my garage door and ends up in a mesh basket inside the garage - thievery is not something I worry about, especially since I live on a secluded and extremely quiet court. Parcels are left behind a large plant container on the front porch and the mailman rings the door bell just to let us know that he left something for us.

As for disposing of documents I use a cross-cut shredder for anything that could be useful to anyone trying to steal our identity. One thing that really irritates me are the pre-printed checks that generally are included with credit card monthly statements. They are the first things to get shredded. The shredded material, being biodegradable, ends up in one of my outdoor compost bins where after being mixed with grass clippings and shredded leaves, and decomposing and being rained on for two years it gets tilled into my vegetable beds to add humus to the soil.

I get daily nasty notes in my mailbox from the mail carrier explaining how I am supposed to dig back 4 feet into the 8 foot high drift along the street that is left by the city's plow, so he can easily drive right up close to my mailbox to leave the mail for me without having to lean too far out the mail truck window. I picture mail trucks all over the city, passing out 1000's of these annoying yellow notices covered with threats! If you don't dig out your mailbox, we will stop delivering your junk mail! Our city plows cannot drive a straight line, but we want you, the homeowner, to fix what they didn't do right the first time in order to make our lives easier! Ono! Well, at least the notices are recyclable.

Seriously, it never occurred to me to tip the mail carrier. I might consider paying him to toss the junk mail instead of delivering it, though.

And no, I'd depend on my neighborhood mail carrier to pick up an important letter. I mail important stuff by dropping it into an official US mail slot/collection center in the hospital where I work.

I'm not sure it's worth it to try to prevent anyone from figuring out where I bank--what good would that information do a criminal anyway? It's not like Wells Fargo has only a few customers.

A few mail-related tips would be:

1) Drop your outgoing mail in mailbox rather than in your own mailbox with the flag up. That's a way to send mail without alerting the bad guys. The flag on the mailbox can literally be a red flag for such activities. For myself, it requires basically no extra effort to do so, though I realize that might not be the case for everyone.

2) After the fact, once you actually open mail that you want to throw away, consider shredding it. If personal information is involved, you don't want it out there for someone to find later.

I'm home most of the day so I normally pick up our mail when it's delivered. I called our credit card company and asked to cancel the pre-approved offers that you get the checks for. Our mailbox is mounted right outside our front door so if anyone wants to take something from it they have to being standing right at our front door (our mailman parks and walks the street to deliver.)

I shred almost all of the mail. I keep the shredder right next to the mail shelf. This way if any bills or cc offers come in, they go right into the shredder. We frequently get mail from the neighbor that has the same house # but lives 1 block over, so some of our mail must be going to them too. I've called the post master about this, but it still continues to happen. I don't particularly trust the neighbor not to open it so I put a credit freeze on all of us. I bring their mail over to them and ask if they by any chance have any of ours, just to let them know that I'm aware of the situation.

I have the credit hold on my credit, use the shredder on most stuff, and drop my outgoing mail at the post office. It is one block from where I go for coffee.

I have had 2 cc's hihacked (apparently just the number) and they were both easily fixed. One Chase and one Citicard and I got fast, easy service on a new card and taking off the hijacked charges.

I like the idea of calling and asking my cc companies to stop the offers. I may try that today. Just minutes ago I had to shred a set of checks from each card. Thanks for the tip, kjaxx

I pass the post office everyday so it's easy enough for me to make a quick detour to drop off outgoing mail. I never use a street mailbox though. My father-in-law worked for the post office and he said mailboxes were often targeted for vandalism. People dump all sorts of stuff in there and lots of mail is ruined.

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