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Mail Fraud

About Mail Fraud

Direct mail advertising isn't always fraud -- usually it's just what you'd call "junk mail". But it can be hard to tell for sure. Unless you register your address with the Direct Marketing Association. Then you'll know that any offer from a business you don't already do business with is probably fraudulent.

If you get a lot of credit card offers, someone could grab an offer out of your mailbox , and fill it in themselves, to apply for a credit card for under your name.

Other things can be taken from your mailbox as well, such as credit card statements and bank account statements.

When you throw those things away, they could also be taken from your rubbish (by "dumpster diving").



Prevention

Minimize "junk mail". Register your address with the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service (MPS) at www.dmachoice.org to cut off most "junk mail". So, if you do get an email solicitation it will either be from a company you already do business with (it's still okay for them to send you mail)... Or, it will be from a marketer who doesn't respect DMA's "do not mail" lists; and thus will likely be Fraud.

Stop getting credit card offers in the mail. Most of those use your name and address from the"prescreened" lists which credit reporting agencies sell to banks & insurance companies. To minimize the offers you get, opt out at www.optoutprescreen.com (yes, you'll be asked to provide personal information, including your Social Security number and date of birth). Afterwards, only businesses you already do business with can send credit card offers to you.

Shred all statements, credit card offers and any other papers which have your financial information, your social security number, credit card numbers, or substantial personal information before you throw it away. Don't forget to shred old tax returns (those contain more than enough information to enable someone to steal your ID).

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