A Public Service Announcement

Assume you sent a letter containing your social security number and your bank account number to someone and it never arrived at its destination. For three weeks. Would you be nervous?

Assume you put said letter in your home mailbox, sticking out of the slot so that your own postman would see it and take it to be mailed but you have no idea if that actually happened. Also assume that you live in a fairly busy city neighborhood where anyone, including your own postman, could just walk through the gate up to the mailbox. Would you feel stupid and be nervous?

This is akin to losing your social security card. It’s out there, baby. And you have no idea where. You feel… exposed.

Fortunately, your friends at any of the big three credit reporting agencies will place a 90 day “Security Freeze” fraud alert on your credit file. All you have do is notify one of these agencies and they will, as a courtesy, notify the other two. The 90 day fraud alert lets a potential lender know they should contact you directly to verify you have initiated a credit request.

I wouldn’t even characterize a phone call from a lender asking me if it was me that applied for credit a minor inconvenience. As Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.”

Now that the nervousness is somewhat relieved, it’s time to work on that stupidity issue.


  1. Don’t feel stupid. I had a very similar thing happen when our tax returns were stolen from the mailbox last year. SSNs, bank accounts everything… It happens and you’ve obviously taken the most important step to protecting yourself.

    The bonus to the 90 day freeze? No unsolicited credit card apps in the mail! For that reason alone I wish I could put a permafreeze on my credit report, but alas…

  2. How far away was it to be mailed? Were there any winter storms a-poppin’ in the mail’s path?

    I always send mail from work. The main Orlando post office is right up the road, and my mail gets on a plane and out of here the same day; no sorting or putzing around at the local yutz post office and only one pair of hands on it.

    I’ve sent really important stuff certified, requiring a signature. That way, the post office really *is* accountable for that piece of mail, and you know when it’s arrived.

  3. Only from here to Detroit. No winter storms.

    I normally send mail from work too, only I’d missed the pickup and I wasn’t going back to the office the next day.

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