Protect Your Personal Information By Guarding Against Mail Theft

Friday, January 9, 2015 8:29 pm, Posted by Absolute Destruction

With another holiday season come and gone, we may find ourselves in that frustrating position of realizing that some of the cards and gifts we sent — and were to receive — never reached their intended targets. “Didn’t you get the package I sent you?” dear old Aunt Louisa says over the phone. “No,” you reply, disappointedly. “Didn’t you get my card?”

If you’re sending mittens and baked goods, this is only a minor regret of the holidays — a time when mail carriers and post depots are slammed with an abundance of letters, cards, boxes, and hefty packages. Nevertheless, some people still make the foolish mistake of mailing cash, cheques, money orders, gift cards, and forms of personal identification, like credit cards, birth certificates, and passports.

Perhaps they don’t realize that mail theft is still an all-too-frequent occurrence. Just this past December, two huge bags of stolen mail were discovered in Montrose, Colorado, with packages opened and rifled through for cash and credit cards. While this surely ruined more than a few Christmas celebrations, it also no doubt led to some serious incidents of identity theft — the other grave result of mail theft across the continent. This past April, two Canada Post workers were charged after stealing packages from a Burlington, Ontario mail depot, with one of the duo charged with identity theft.

Canada Post and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service both have initiatives in place to help prevent the incidence of mail and subsequent identity theft; you can read Canada Post’s warnings about sending and receiving mail on their website. Beyond following the advice of our postal service, there are things we can do — as both private individuals and corporate entities — to keep our information safe.

The most important piece of advice is two-fold. First, you should always dispose of any mail received from others (and any return-to-sender parcels) in responsible and careful ways. This means never simply throwing mail that contains names, addresses, bank account or credit card numbers, health or SIN identification, or other documents containing warranty, insurance, or password information into the trash or the recycling bin. This is making mail thieves’ lives even easier, because all they have to do is look through your refuse to find the posted documents they need to claim your identity.

Second, once you commit to never tossing away such vital information, you should seriously consider investing in a third party, professional service like our own to destroy your documents for you. This is especially true if you run a business with a tremendous amount of received mail, or if you have a large backlog of personal paperwork at home. You don’t want to waste your (or your employees’) time by grinding through thousands of pages, and furthermore, you don’t want any trace of confidential information remaining after the shredding takes place. Absolute Destruction can guarantee that your sensitive documents are shredded, and then recycled, irrevocably.

We put a lot of faith into our country’s postal service, so when things go missing, it’s never a happy situation. However, you can alleviate the anguish of losing mail slightly by employing safe mailing practices and trusting to our expert on-site, mobile shredders. Drop us a line and let’s get destroying!

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