It’s easy to dismiss a missing piece of mail as just having gotten lost somewhere along the way. But if there is a pattern of lost mail or particularly sensitive correspondence has mysteriously gone missing, it makes sense to err on the side of caution and take protective actions.
Let the authorities know
Visit postalinspectors.uspis.gov and click on “File a Complaint” to alert the Postal Inspectors office. You should also file a police report at the nearest police station. Lastly, the Federal Trade Commission won’t necessarily help with your individual case, but you can fill out a complaint form at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov to help guide their national investigations.
Check your credit reports
If you believe you may have been the victim of identity theft – and if you have had your mail stolen it is certainly possible – you are entitled to additional free copies of your credit reports on top of the ones you get for free once a year by federal law. Contact each of the three bureaus individually at their fraud number or website to get your reports:
Equifax: 800.525.6285 – www.equifax.com
Experian: 888.397.3742 – www.experian.com
TransUnion: 800.680.7289 – www.transunion.com
Once you have the reports, check for signs of accounts that aren’t yours. If you see any, you need to contact the police to let them know and start the process of disputing the fraudulent items with the credit bureaus and contacting the creditors to resolve the matter with them. It’s also a good idea to place a fraud alert on your credit reports and consider using a security freeze also. Information on doing this can be found at the credit bureau contact information above.
Talk with your postal carrier
Your mail deliverer may not have any idea about the theft, but it can’t hurt to see what they know or have seen. Ask the neighbors too if they have seen or heard anything suspicious.
Make your mail safer
Talk to your postmaster about the possibility of using a lock on your mailbox if there wasn’t one before. For an extra level of security, you can consider switching your mail deliver to a post office box.
Monitor your correspondence
If you start getting phone calls about debts that aren’t yours, or you receive bills for accounts you didn’t open, your information may have been stolen to open accounts in your name. If this happens to you, it is wise to go through the entire identity theft recovery process.
Having your personal mail stolen can leave you feeling extremely vulnerable and unnerved. However, by remaining calm and taking steps to recover and prevent, you can overcome mail theft and prevent it in the future.