Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Government Found a New Way to Snoop on You, and Thieves Love It

 The United States Post Office has been offering a new service you probably are not aware of, Informed delivery. Identity Thieves see it as uninformed consent to steal your identity.

 

This USPS product sounds wonderful. You can sign up with USPS and receive pictures of your personal mail and small packages in your insecure email before they arrive in your mail box.

 

What a wonderful product offering. Not only are all phone calls made in the United States monitored, now who sends you mail is captured and stored in a database. How quaint, the Government may build of a "Family Tree" of everyone you have contact with through personal mail and email since they have your email address too.

 

 From Wikipedia:

"In the United States the government pays phone companies directly to record and collect cellular communications from specified individuals.[14] U.S. law enforcement agencies can also legally track the movements of people from their mobile phone signals upon obtaining a court order to do so"

 

As to Informed Mail, here is a quote from a CBS News article from November 2018. I found this quote of particular interest:


"It's being collected by companies that collect and sell data. This kind of information is also oftentimes available on social media," Levin said.


That can allow scammers to sign up with your name and address but their email. The Secret Service warns criminals can take advantage of Informed Delivery to "intercept mail and to further their identity theft fraud schemes."

 

How much personal information have you let loose on the Internet over the years, through email, social sites, etc.


Everyone should know, email is not a secure way to communicate sensitive information. Once email leaves your computer, it is routed through several pipelines across the Internet before it arrives at its destination. As this websites states at the beginning of their post:


Company Alarm states in one of their articles, "There’s a reason your CPA advises you not to send your Social Security Number via e-mail. E-mail, like text messages, is not secure. It’s easy to hack and intercept.


That’s the danger of Informed Delivery. If a hacker can get access to your e-mail, he or she can view the exterior of every piece of mail you receive – daily. With that information, an identity thief can learn all kinds of things about you: Where you bank, what credit cards you have, the name and address of where you work."


It’s endless, and it’s an endless stream of information for the bad guys.


In fact, Informed Delivery makes identity theft easier. Under normal circumstances, thieves would have to wait out in the cold to check the contents of your mailbox. With Informed Delivery and a little computer hacking, they can monitor your correspondence from the comfort of their own home."

 

Even USPS recognizes the dangers of identity theft stemming from Informed Mail service. Fortunately, a reporter at the Dallas Morning News found a solution.


""Want to block your address? You must notify the eSAFE team by email at eSAFE@usps.gov.


Ruiz says your note should give "full name, mailing address, phone number, email address" and "request that an individual account at an address be blocked."


"Or they can request," he continues, "that no Informed Delivery accounts are allowed at the address at all.""

 

If you do nothing, you are leaving the door open to thieves opening an account to preview your mail. They would know when you receive a birthday card that may have money in it. They can know when your tax refund arrives. They know when your credit card bill arrives and know it contains your account number.


I am not sure what concerns me more, the Government invading my privacy through mail I send to family and friends who use Informed Mail, or the idea of some identity thief already having access to my personal mail.


I sent my email to: eSAFE@usps.gov. The Government and the Internet have taken away enough of my private information. Something "coincidental" about this whole process is this: Suddenly, the email account I used after sending an email to verify the email address is valid, suddenly could not save my draft or connect to the server. I had to reenter the password, that worked just fine yesterday. Hm-mm, I am sure it is nothing, simply a glitch.




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