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The original item was published from 1/14/2015 2:39:54 PM to 1/14/2015 2:40:27 PM.

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Posted on: January 14, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Stop Identity Theft

IDTheft.jpg

It’s tax season, so police departments around the country often see a spike in mail thefts. Identity thieves will be looking for W-2s and other tax forms being delivered to homes.

W-2s include names, addresses, and Social Security numbers. That’s all the information needed for someone to steal a person’s identity, open up credit cards in their name, and tap into their bank and other personal accounts.

Consumers can take actions to reduce the chances of mail being stolen.

  • Talk with your employer about picking up your W-2 form in person, or ask them to send an electronic W-2 statement through a secure system rather than through the mail.
  • Ask your employer to notify you when W-2 statements are being mailed so you can arrange for your mail to be picked up immediately in the days following them being mailed.
  • If you don't receive your W-2 form when expected, contact your employer immediately.
  • If you see suspicious behavior or a mail thief at work immediately call 9-1-1. Note vehicle description and license plate number if possible.
  • If you believe your mail has been stolen, call the police at 651-767-0640.
  • Report all suspected mail theft to the U.S. Postal Service at 1-877-876-2455, ext. 3.
  • Talk with your neighbors or work with your neighborhood watch program. Watch each other's mailboxes (as well as homes).
  • Consider purchasing a locking mailbox, where mail can be dropped in but requires a key for mail to be taken out.
  • Consider renting a post office box rather than having mail delivered to your home.
If you believe you may be a victim of identity theft contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. Also contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file. They will request your social security number.

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