4 free services to thwart the identity thieves lurking in your mailbox

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mailbox theft
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FedEx, UPS, DHL and the United States Postal Service (USPS) are contending with criminals setting up fraudulent online accounts under the legitimate street addresses of unsuspecting victims.

But the real danger here is that crooks can apply for credit in your name and fish the credit cards out of your mailbox completely unbeknownst to you.

Fortunately, we’ve got ways for you to fight back!

RELATED: USPS Informed Delivery: Sign up for this free service in your name before a criminal does!

Here’s how to beat the identity thieves

Recently, we told you about how criminals have commandered a USPS initiative called Informed Delivery designed to give you an early look-see into what’s coming in the mail that day.

A recent Secret Service bulletin was sent out warning law enforcement that seven criminals in Michigan allegedly used the Informed Delivery service to commit economic identity theft — and they’re afraid similar crimes may be in the works.

That’s why we wrote an article explaining why you need to sign up for Informed Delivery as soon as possible — before a criminal signs up under your name and street address.

After the publication of our piece, one reader named Ted became a contributing member of Team Clark when he wrote in with the following cautionary tale.

The episode Ted describes, which took place two years ago, explains how criminals “squatted” on his mailing address by signing up for the free FedEx Delivery Manager service in his name and with his street address.

“I have a mail slot at my residence.  Someone fished through my mail slot and was able to pull out an American Express statement that had my credit card number on it.”

“[Then] this criminal…applied for a similar service called FedEx Delivery Manager. One of the features of this service is that one can change the delivery address after a package is en route.”

“The criminal ordered over $1,000 in firearms from a webstore in Texas and was apparently planning to change the delivery address to some place in Louisiana after the package was in the FedEx system.

Fortunately, American Express saw something fishy and cancelled the order before this scam got underway.”

In light of that story, here are all the free name/address verification services you should sign up for with the major package delivery services.

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Hopefully, this will help you close this new identity theft loophole in your life.

DHL ProView

Get real-time shipment monitoring and automatic notifications via email or text with this PIN-protected service for express pickups and deliveries.

Sign up here

FedEx Delivery Manager

This free service allows you to get alerts when a FedEx package is sent to you, redirect a package to a participating Walgreens, put a vacation hold on all deliveries and more.

Sign up here

UPS My Choice

Re-route deliveries to another location, electronically authorize packages for drop-off and get email/text message alert before packages arrive.

And right now, My Choice is running a special promotion with Costco Wholesale where new members can get $120 in value in coupons and freebies for just $60 after they register for this free UPS service.

Sign up here

USPS Informed Delivery

Get a digital preview of incoming mail, track packages and schedule redelivery with this free service from the Post Office.

Sign up here

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Final thoughts

Don’t forget to freeze your credit. A lot of what we’re discussing in this article can also be managed easily by signing up for a credit freeze.

Freezing your credit is free and easy to do online. The main benefit of a credit freeze is that it will prevent a criminal from opening new credit in your name without your knowledge.

See our credit freeze guide here

More privacy & identity theft stories on Clark.com:

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