BBB offers advice after recent mailbox thefts
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Two people are facing charges after they are caught on camera stealing mail from a federal mailbox. Now, the Better Business Bureau of Louisville is offering tips on protecting against identity theft.
Scammers can use stolen mail as a means to steal someone’s identity, making false applications for loans or credit cards in the victim’s name, withdrawing money from the victim’s bank account, or obtaining services in the victim’s name. That personal information can also be sold online.
The BBB said to look for unexplained withdrawals, charges, and accounts. Review bank accounts and credit card statements regularly.
Also, know when bills are due. One tip-off for identity theft is when people stop receiving certain bills. This can happen because scammers have changed the address associated with your bank account or credit card.
If bills don’t arrive on time, follow up with creditors. Debt collectors may call about debts that aren’t yours. Automatic alerts can also be set up on accounts so people are notified every time a transaction is made.
Remember to check credit reports regularly for unauthorized inquiries and accounts. In the U.S., people have the right to check their credit report with each of the three major credit bureaus once per year at AnnualCreditReport.com.
This is the only free crediting reporting service authorized by the Federal Trade Commission. If these checks are spaced out across the year, people will know fairly quickly if something is wrong.
Make sure to shred any documents that have bank account information, a social security or social insurance number, or other personal information. These include credit card applications, insurance forms, financial statements, health forms and billing statements from utilities and phone services.
Also, cut up expired credit and debit cards, making sure to cut through the numbers, before you dispose of them.
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