OCSO: Tips for avoiding mail theft from your mailbox

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A Destin resident who was recently charged by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office with numerous counts of forging checks is believed to have stolen some of the checks from mailboxes.

Special to the Daily News

A Destin resident who was recently charged by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office with numerous counts of forging checks is believed to have stolen some of the checks from mailboxes. The checks were then altered to gain access to cash.

Neil Annon Mathews, 36, of 610 Sea Oats Drive, was arrested in connection with a number of crimes involving defrauding financial institutions, uttering forged checks, and theft.

OCSO Crime Prevention Specialist Ashley Bailey says there are steps you can take to try to keep your mail from falling into the wrong hands and to protect you from identity theft:

—Do Not place outgoing mail in your mailbox and raise the flag. Your personal mail can be a gold mine for identity thieves.

—Keep from becoming a “red flag” victim, do not put checks or mail that contains your personal identifying information into an unlocked box; instead, drop your mail off at a local post office.

—Use automated payment plans, instead of mailing out checks to businesses.

—Have paychecks, benefit and pension checks direct deposited to your account. Ask the IRS, insurance companies and others to send refund checks electronically.

—Ask your bank or credit union to receive your box of new checks, rather than have them mailed to your home. Don’t carry your checkbook in public. Carry only the checks you need.

—Shred pre-approved credit card offers, convenience checks and any document containing sensitive information — with a crosscut shredder.

—Call the Credit Card Offer Opt Out Line to reduce number of credit card solicitations you receive. (1-888-567-8688 or www.optoutprescreen.com).

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