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Identity Theft - Head Matters

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4. Fraud and Scams

c. Fraud through the mailbox


Stolen checks – A major concern for the elderly is the theft of checks from mailboxes and slots. Since the mail carrier delivers Social Security checks on the same day of each month, these and other predictable, routine payments are easy prey for theft. Stolen checks are easily turned into cash by thieves who know where to go and what to do. 

If you have regularly scheduled payments, you should seriously consider direct deposit. Federal Reserve Banks and financial institutions process direct deposit transactions electronically through a national automated system. Contact your financial institution about payments that are eligible.

Fake contests – This is a common form of mail fraud. You get a notice you have won a “free” trip, a TV, or even a car. To redeem your prize, you should send “X” number of dollars or bring the money to a certain place. In reality, prizes frequently do not exist, or if they do, only a very small number of them will be awarded. 

Watch out for prizes that you have to pay for. Carefully examine any letters that look official or urgent. 
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