Over the last two days I’ve been dealing with the issue and consequences of having my mail stolen. What a great way to kick off my weekend
I came home really late Friday evening and discovered that 2 days worth of mail was stolen. It was impossible to know everything that was possibly in my mailbox, but I do know for certain that it contained at least one credit card statement, a bank statement and a credit cart statement.
I was fearful of having fraud or identity theft committed against me, so I did some quick research to find out what exactly I should do in this situation. Here’s the info I have gathered and figured it was useful to share it with others:
- Call your bank and have a “watch” put on your account. All major banks and credit unions will have this capability and most will also have the added protection of adding a supplementary password added that must be given for any access to your account.
- Call all your credit card companies and also put a watch on your accounts. If you’re ultra-paranoid, you can get your credit card company to issue you a brand new account # and card which you should be able to get within 3-5 business days.
- Contact the credit reporting agencies to put a “Fraud alert” on your credit file. Calling each one individually is a pain in the ass, and in the process I found out that if you place a fraud alert through Transunion, they will automatically notify and process fraud alerts to Experian and Equifax also.
- Update (6/16/2008): As an extra precaution, I’ve also added a Credit Freeze on each credit bureau. This is a higher level of security on your credit file, and basically nothing can get pulled or approved without my specific approval.
- Transunion: You need to submit a written request including your full name, SSN, address and credit card # and expiration (for the $10 fee). Address is on the Transunion site.
- Equifax: Same as Transunion except they also want you to include a copy of a recent utility bill to prove your current address. See info on their site for mailing address.
- Experian: Has the easiest way to request a freeze with an online application process. Unfortunately in my case, something about my info didn’t line up with their records so I had to submit a request in writing anyways.
I also filed a police report through the non-emergency number (206-625-5011) and a separate report with the US Postal Service “Postal Inspector”. For the latter, you have 2 choices to file a report – you can either call them on the phone at 206-442-6300, or alternatively file an incident report online at the US Postal Inspection Service website.
It was real eye opening experience to have my mail stolen due to both the invasive nature of it, but also the uneasiness of not knowing exactly what was stolen. Eep.
The good news is that my building has security cameras that has the little f’ers on tape which the police now have. Since mail theft is a federal crime, I hope those punks get what they deserve.