Mail Theft Made Easy

by : Jack Payne

Criminals regularly "case" residential neighborhoods, staking out homes that are vacant--due to vacationing, business travels, or other away-from-home reasons. Object, of course, is to, when empty, burglarize them.

Identity thieves are now taking the easy way when engaging in this pastime. They simply gather up the names and addresses, fill out change-of-address forms at the Post Office, and await delivery of this mail to a new address of their choosing. There they can leisurely rifle through the victims' mail in search of credit card and debit card data, IRS W-2 forms at tax time (which include social security numbers), bank statements, and all other highly personal information. They then fit themselves out with a brand new identity--yours, if they are staking you out--and go on a spending spree at their victim's--or your-- expense. To pursue this line of gainful endeavor, the con man does not even have to develop an elaborate shell game.

Perhaps the most frightening thing about this latest form of identity theft is the no-hassle mechanics of it: simply filling out a change-of-address form and presenting it at the Post Office counter. They don't even have to provide an ID.

Do you hear the not-too-distant thunder? And, the lack of defenses you have against such unprovoked attacks on your good name is near-total. It's chilling.

Then, what options do you have? How do you fight back? There's got to be a means, an equally simple way to protect yourself. Right? You'd think so. If, in 1770, a London prisoner could attach some bristles to a bone and brush his teeth with it, thus inventing the tooth brush, why can't you just as easily protect yourself from this nearly-effortless crime?

You can. And, the solution doesn't have to be so unappetizing as drinking a quart of used hot dog water. But, there's only one way you can do it with complete assurance it will work.

Divorce your identity from your residential address. Divert your mail to a Post Office box or private receiving / forwarding service. Sure, you would have the inconvenience of daily mail pick-up, but maybe, just maybe, this could be one of the most decisive steps you could ever take to protect yourself from this too-easy form of crime. This remedy is near fool-proof. Obviously, if there is no mail delivery to your home, the identity thief cannot possibly divert it.

In this wrought-iron world of crisscross cause and effect, a clear path to justice is obscured. If you were ever hit up with the total loss of identity this form of theft would entail, you would have to seek a solution through the twisted logic of a nightmare. Hundreds and hundreds of hours of agonizing mental torture would await you. You could go through the hellish ordeal of identity reconstruction, credit repositioning, police investigations, legal maneuverings, stress counseling, and maybe, even, funny farm admittance procedures.

If you can't stop singing, The Green, Green Grass of Home, as your psychiatrist is tightening your straight jacket straps, it's because you failed to protect your identity from theft.