U.S. Postal Service Gets a Digital Upgrade to Prevent Identity Theft

By ASR Staff,

Even though only 4 percent of identity theft victims cited stolen mail as a source of personal information to the FTC, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is fighting against identity theft. In addition to taking formal steps to help protect your identity, you now can track your mail through the U.S. Postal Service. The service, called Informed Delivery, is making mail delivery more convenient and safe.

What Is Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery sends you an email every morning with a black and white picture of the mail that will be delivered that day. You can receive an email with up to 10 images per day, or you can access your online dashboard (in the same place where you track packages) if you are expecting more mail. Right now the service only sends images of letter-sized pieces of mail, but they plan to add catalogs, magazines and other types of mail soon.

Where Is Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery is currently only available in certain zip codes. Some of the major areas the service is offered include Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Houston. It will be available in most major cities in the near future.

How Does Informed Delivery Help?

One of the benefits of Informed Delivery is being able to track your mail when you’re out of town or not going to be home for awhile. It also helps everyone in the household, instead of just the person who physically picks the mail up, know what will be delivered.

As far as identity theft goes, Informed Delivery helps you keep track of mail that may contain personal information, such as credit cards and bank statements. It also lets you know if any of your mail was lost or stolen so you can report it within a few days (USPS recommends waiting 3-4 days). If you believe your mail was stolen or you notice other identity theft red flags, you can take action sooner to help prevent or resolve the problem.

How Else Can you Protect your Identity?

Even though the Postal Service is working to protect your identity, you still need to take other steps. For mail theft, the Postal Inspection Service recommends shredding and destroying documents that contain personal information, dropping off mail in USPS collection boxes and picking up your mail daily so it doesn’t sit in your mailbox overnight or on the weekend. You also should protect your identity online by setting up secure passwords, using antivirus and anti-malware software and being aware of phishing schemes.

You shouldn’t give out any personal information to people or businesses you don’t know. Your bank, the IRS and most other businesses will not email or call you about a problem or ask for your personal information but rather send you a notice through the mail. You also need to be careful about what you share on social media. Consumer Reports explains that you shouldn’t share information on social media that may be used to verify your identity, such as your birthday, first pet’s name or mother’s maiden name. In addition, you should check your yearly credit reports for any red flags and your financial statements for any mistakes.

The U.S. Postal Service is doing its part in protecting your information from identity theft with Informed Delivery. Take advantage of this service, alongside others, to keep your personal information safe.

Was this article helpful?


Comments are closed.