Tax forms and W2's are in the mail and scam artists can't wait for them to arrive.
January is the time where people start getting letters from employers, banks and other financial institutions to help them with their tax return. And many of those letters sit in mailboxes.
That's why this is also an important time for identity thieves.
"They're looking for any of your personal identifying information like your social security number, your tax I.D. number and your income," said Eva Velasquez with the Identity Theft Resource Center.
With that information, identity thieves can apply for credit cards and government aid.
Shelley Stapley says her mailbox is full of tax forms this time of year.
"Things from our bank, things regarding investments," said Stapley who says she tries to get her mail right after it arrives. "In the wrong hands, I'm sure they could use it against us."
Velasquez says consumers are more concerned about protecting their online privacy than the information sitting in their mailbox. "Low-tech is still very lucrative," she added.
So what should people do about it? The ID Theft Center has three suggestions:
- Get a P.O. Box for sensitive mail.
- Put a hold on your mail like you would during a vacation where you have to go to the post office and show identification to get your mail.
- Install a strong locking mailbox.
And most important, don't put sensitive financial information out with your mail for the carrier to pick up.
"That little flag says come and get me, I'm here, please steal me," added Velasquez