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Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.


A change of address can prevent identity theft

Oct 12

white moving storage truck

I just heard a story about a man who recently moved and said he filed a change of address request with the United States Postal Service®. For one reason or another, the mail did not get forwarded. As a result, when the mail was dropped at his old apartment, the new tenants just threw it aside in a common area of the apartment building. Of course, the mover became a victim of identity theft. Someone gained easy access to credit card bills, bank statements and loan applications.

Here’s how that could have been prevented. Whenever you move and request an address change with the USPS, be sure to watch for a letter from them at your new address confirming the change. If you don’t get one within about seven to ten postal business days, be sure to call. Also, it is a good idea to call your bank, credit cards, magazines, etc. and change the account addresses yourself.

Another good tip is to schedule the change of address for a few days before you are actually planning to move. That way you can see for yourself if mail keeps arriving at your old residence after the date is was supposed to stop. This, of course, will only work if you have already taken occupancy of the new residence. Otherwise, the mail will end up piling at the new place and the same thing could happen again.

Also, be considerate. If you receive someone else’s mail by accident, mark it “no longer at this address” and return it to your postal carrier or local post office. That way USPS can look into it and the mail will not be floating around waiting to get into the wrong hands.

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