Have you signed up for the United States Postal Service's Informed Delivery feature?

If you haven't, you may want to consider it to help protect yourself from fraud.

Recently, the US Secret Service issued a warning that cybercriminals are using the feature to commit various identity theft and credit card fraud schemes. 

The USPS feature - first introduced in 2014 to a few zip codes and expanded in 2017 to the majority of the US - provides users with a digital preview of mail that will be arriving soon (you can read all about it HERE). A consumer signs up for the service. Once sent mail arrives at the USPS center, the USPS gathers digital images of the exterior of letter-sized mail pieces. Those images are then automatically matched to Informed Delivery users. Digital images are sent to the consumer ahead of the physical mail arriving through regular delivery. Earlier this year, the USPS began alerting households by mail whenever anyone signed up to receive scanned notifications of mail being delivered to their address. 

Unfortunately this feature, which has about 6.3 million users signed up, is vulnerable to identity thieves, and you better believe they will - and are - taking advantage of it. 

According to published reports, the Secret Service sent an internal alert to its law enforcement partners nationwide that referenced a case in Michigan. The reports go on to state that seven people were arrested for allegedly stealing credit cards from residents' mailboxes after signing up as those victims at the USPS Web site.  

The Secret Service alert went on to warn that the accused used the Informed Delivery feature “to identify and intercept mail, and to further their identity theft fraud schemes.”

In a recent article on KrebsOnSecurity.com, it states that cybercriminals "have figured out ways to hijack identities and order new credit cards in victims' names before the USPS can send their notification - possibly by waiting until the cards are already approved and ordered before signing up for Informed Delivery in the victim's name."

As added precaution, you may want to consider signing up for the service and claim your email before someone with malicious intent does it for you. Also, the service allows for anyone living at that address to sign up for accounts as well, so it may be best to have them sign up as well. 

As we head into the holiday season, please make sure you are exercising caution when signing up for different services. Also, be sure to monitor your accounts closely. Take a few minutes several times a week to log in to your credit and debit card accounts and review all charges to verify that they are legitimate.

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