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Posted on April 30, 2014 by in Identity & Privacy, Personal

Junk mail: it seems my mailbox is overflowing with it. From pizzeria coupons to credit card applications––it never stops.

If you’re like me, you might find it hard to resist the temptation to dump all this annoying mail straight into the trash. But, don’t toss it just yet. Did you know that carelessly disposing of your junk mail increases your risk of identity theft?

Here are some steps you can take to cut down on junk mail and protect what matters most:

  • Opt out. Pre-approved credit card offers are the worst offenders. A criminal can easily steal them right out of your mailbox and apply for the credit card using your sensitive, personal information, including your home address. That criminal could be off and shopping before you knew anything was wrong. To opt out of receiving credit card offers call 888-5-OPTOUT. And don’t forget to regularly check your credit report for fraudulent charges. IdentityForce’s UltraSecure+Credit is a great way to monitor your credit on a daily basis. We’ll alert you immediately of any suspicious activity and keep you up to date on your credit score each month.
  • Don’t call us we’ll call you. You can also sign up with the Do Not Call Registry, which will stop unsolicited calls and text messages and help protect you from identity theft.
  • Outsmart marketers. Another way to protect yourself from receiving unwanted catalogues, advertisements, “free” offers for luxury vacations, and various promotional offers you can register at By registering, you’ll stop marketers from mailing you junk mail you don’t want, and save yourself valuable time that would otherwise be spent sorting and shredding endless piles of mail.
  • Shred it and forget it. To outsmart dumpster diving criminals, if you do receive junk mail containing your personal information make sure you shred it before discarding it. Try buying a shredder and place it near your recycling bin to make it easy to shred it and forget it.
  • Go paperless. We’ve talked about going paperless before in our spring cleaning for your finances post. It saves time and prevents your personal information from ending up in the hands of identity thieves who might steal your mail.
  • Electronic junk. One last note: junk mail isn’t always “snail” mail. Email junk can also pile up in your email account inbox. To remove yourself from national commercial email lists click here. Registration is free and effective for six years. After six years you’ll need to re-register.

At IdentityForce we recommend taking some time today to opt out of junk mail to help protect you and your family against identity theft. You’ll feel safer and less junk mail means you’ll have more time to get outside and enjoy the warmer days ahead!

Image courtesy of Flickr user Lali Masriera.