Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Is your W-2 missing from your mailbox this week?

This really is about the golden ticket for an ID thief, your W-2. It has everything they need to get started being you. That form is your link between your employer, you, and the federal government. It is the one item in your mailbox this time of year that the thieves know is coming and has your vital social security number on it.

The beauty of that golden ticket is they are sitting in millions of mailboxes this week waiting for you to save it from the grasp of an identity thief. Didn’t get yours yet? Did your employer mail it out already to an unlocked curbside ID thief treasure chest, also known as a mailbox? You might want to start inquiring now.

What makes this so easy for the thieves is you have been receiving it in this manner forever and it has never been a problem. You know it is coming; you wait for it almost, especially if you are anticipating a refund. Many also know that their employer is required to issue them no latter that the last day of January. For those who choose not to hand it directly to the employees, they use the always reliable, United States Postal Service.

The safety net ends there. Once it is placed in that old trusted receptacle on your house, by the curb, at the end of a long driveway, or in a communal type apartment system, it is fair game to anyone who happens by.

That’s what makes you so vulnerable. An old system that seemed stable and reliable is now being exploited on a grand scale by identity thieves who rely on you to think that it will not happen. Ask 1 out of every 30 Americans last year who thought the same way. They will beg to differ.