Monday, December 8, 2008

Why you need to actually open snail mail

About five years ago, I started doing most of my transactions electronically. I rarely carry more than $20 cash, mostly using my debit card for transactions. I do most of my banking online, except for deposits, and I use e-payments for every bill.

That left me with a nasty habit of not opening mail when it comes, and when I was cleaning out my apartment over the weekend, I discovered why that's a horrible idea.

In one envelope that had been laying around my apartment for about a month were a bunch of black checks from my credit union. Blank checks with my name and address. If they had been cashed, the amount would have been added to my The credit union sent a letter saying they would be a great gift to someone for the holidays...yeah, for whatever thief might have gotten their hands on them.

In another envelope was a "check" from JP Morgan Chase Bank for $10. The fine print said that the check was really an offer to enroll in something called PrivacyGuard, ironically a $64.99 semi-annual (twice-a-year) service that's supposed to help you protect your credit. The scary thing is I don't have a credit card, loan or banking relationship with JP Morgan Chase, so I'll be calling them this morning to see if there's already been some tomfoolery.

Bottom line. Check your mail. If anything looks suspicious, call the company and have it checked out. Shred anything that comes in the mail with your name, account numbers or anything else personally identifiable on it.

Now a quick note: I'm taking the rest of this week off from blogging to take care of the rest of my move to Cleveland. I'll be back on Monday, Dec. 15.


Mia6998 said...

I open everything and the items like you described I put in to my shredder.

EVERYONE should have a shredder! They are not expensive and a very cost effective way to prevent identity theft.

So all those credit card offers, checks for cash advances, etc. get "filed" in the shredder.

Product Junkie Diva said...

Good point. I have neglected some of my snail mail.
Thanks for the reminder.

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