Postmaster General Sends Advice to Prevent ID Theft

Letter Sent to Every Postal Service Customer in Nation

Feb 19, 2008, 00:00 ET from U.S. Postal Service

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Postal Service
 begins delivering an important message from Postmaster General John Potter
 this week to every household in America. The letter provides advice to
 protect against identity theft.
     Identity theft is one of America's fastest growing crimes, costing
 billions of dollars each year. Victims can spend months or years and
 thousands of dollars cleaning up their financial records and restoring
 their good names.
     A recent Federal Trade Commission survey on identity theft determined
 that only 2 percent of all victims reported that the theft was connected to
 the mail. But even 2 percent is too much, Potter said.
     "We will keep working to make the mail even more secure and strive to
 reduce that percentage to zero," he said. "Your identity is valuable. If
 someone steals it to commit fraudulent acts, it can affect every aspect of
 your life - your credit standing, your ability to buy a car or house, even
 get a job or medical care."
     The Postal Service teamed up with the FTC to provide tips and tools to
 help Americans protect their identities and information on actions they can
 take if they become victims of identity theft. The FTC brochure, "Deter.
 Detect. Defend. Fighting Back Against Identity Theft," is included in the
     Americans depend on the security of the mail and they trust the U.S.
 Postal Service, above all other federal agencies, to protect their privacy.
 The Postal Service has ranked first among all federal agencies for the past
 three years, according to national surveys by the Ponemon Institute
     In addition to educating consumers about identity theft, the Postal
 Service, through its Postal Inspection Service, and the FTC are leading the
 fight against this crime. The FTC and the Postal Service offer the
 following tips to help protect against identity theft:
     -- Check credit card statements, bank documents and financial reports
 every month for unauthorized activity.
     -- Protect Social Security numbers. Don't carry Social Security cards
 in wallets or write the number on a check.
     -- Don't provide personal information over the phone or the internet.
     -- Never click on links sent in unsolicited email messages.
     -- Keep personal information in a secure place at home.
     More information on identity theft and information on reporting the
 crime can be found at these websites:
     -- U.S. Postal Inspection Service (
     -- The Federal Trade Commission (
     -- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (
     -- The Department of Justice (
     Please Note: For a copy of the Postmaster General's letter, please
 contact Joanne Veto at or 202-268-3118. Broadcast
 quality video and audio, photo stills and other media resources, visit the
 USPS Newsroom at
     An independent federal agency, the U.S. Postal Service is the only
 delivery service that visits every address in the nation - 146 million
 homes and businesses. It has 37,000 retail locations and relies on the sale
 of postage, products and services to pay for operating expenses, not tax
 dollars. The Postal Service has annual revenues of $75 billion and delivers
 nearly half the world's mail.

SOURCE U.S. Postal Service