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.