Junk Mail and Identity Theft

Every year up to 3 million Americans find out that credit accounts have been opened under their name with their permission. About 400,000 of this is due to stolen mail. These are usually mail sent to you by various companies that you most often ignore. The best way to prevent these from being stolen is to prevent them from coming. Here are a few things you can do to stop junk mail from ever getting to your mailbox.

Contact the Credit Bureaus Opt-out line. You may reach them at 888-567-8688 (888-5-OPT-OUT). You can tell them that you opt out of pre approved insurance and credit cards. These may get stolen from your mail and get activated giving an identity thief access to an account without your knowledge that he may use and you will billed for his purchases.

Register with the National Do Not Call Register. If you still haven’t done this, make sure your do it as soon as possible. You can do this by visiting their website or by dialing toll-free number 888-382-1222. This database is maintained by the Federal Trade Commission. Having your number listed here prevents most telemarketers from contacting you for any promos or offers. This also tells you not to entertain telemarketers as you know you opted to never be contacted. Be very wary of telemarketers asking for your personal information. This also prevents their company or the company they represent from sending you anything via the mail.

Contact List Brokers. List Brokers are entities that pool information from phonebooks, public records, etc. These companies pool this information and prepare mailing lists and phone lists to companies and businesses. You can ask them to remove you from their lists but you will have to contact them individually.

Get in touch with the DMA or Direct Marketing Association. This is a trade group with 5200 member businesses. These businesses use direct mail, phone calls, or the internet to directly pitch their products to us consumers. These businesses bypass the traditional store and allows for cost savings which allow them to sell products at a lower price. You may ask them to provide you a list of their members so you can limit your interaction with businesses that are DMA member of good standing. Or you may ask the DMA for ways you can opt out of their member’s services.

These are just 4 relatively simple ways to prevent receiving junk mail and ultimately prevent them from being stolen. Do not forget that identity theft may only be avoided through diligence and caution.