Think about the last time you received something in the post; was it a postcard from a friend away, a birthday card or a paper bill from your bank? This might seem like nothing but pieces of paper you will store somewhere in the house and forget about. However, they are also insights into your lifestyle that can be used to another person’s advantage; your friend’s house is empty, your home contains valuable gifts or your last transaction is a security question to enter your account. The post, the letter box and all associated with them are an important part of your life that need to be protected.
The letter box on your front door is usually the first thing a person will notice as they approach the front of your house, especially if they are a burglar. They can use items such as cables and coat hangers to go in through the letter box and unlock the door from the inside or take small items near the door. For example, there has been a trend in home decorating to put a key hook or bowl next to the front door but this is the worst place to put them. If a burglar used one of the items already described to take a key through the letter box they could get into your house to take your belongings or take your car from outside the property. It has been suggested to add a letter box cage on the inside of your front door to stop these attempts of intrusion because they guard the letter box which is usually the only open entry to your home.
In comparison to the physical entry of your home, some people can access your life without even stepping inside by using the mail that you leave outside. When you throw away your post you should always shred any correspondence, bills or receipts that could be used against you. This is not just records such as bank statements but anything that could act as a window into your life such as holiday documents telling people when you’re away, and concert details used to duplicate entry tickets. It is even better to take these items to your nearest recycling centre once shredded. Now that nearly every home has a recycling bin, it is easier for people to find your paper records without rummaging around and causing a lot of noise that could draw attention to them.
As previously mentioned, your post is an insight into when your house is empty and you are away for a long period of time, not just from the travel documents but from the post that you’ve left behind piling up. There is now a ‘Keepsafe’ service set up by the Royal Mail to hold your post whilst you’re away and redeliver it once you are back. Alternatively, you can ask your family or trusted neighbour to check on the house once you are gone; moving your mail, turning lights on, and closing curtains to create a sense on mockupancy. Similarly, any deliveries such as newspaper or milk should be cancelled whilst you’re away as again these items piling on your doorstep show you’re not home.
As well as your personal post, it is also important to be aware of what else is coming through your letter box from advertisers, agencies or fraudsters. You will notice that along with your post there are leaflets from your local supermarkets advertising deals, and gardeners leaving business cards encouraging you to use them with an offer. It is crucial to be able to determine which of these are real and what are fake representations looking to take advantage of people. For example some ‘builders’ will go door to door leaving business cards saying they only need a 20% deposit and once they have the money they will never show up to carry out the work. If you get something like this through your letter box make sure you do a background check online to see if the company is registered and there are genuine reviews on accredited sites such as Trust Pilot or Check-a-trade.
The postal services work endlessly to make sure your post doesn’t get into the wrong hands and it is your responsibility to do the same. When you are moving house you should make a list of all the companies that send you correspondence and change your address as soon as possible so nothing will be seen by the new occupants. If you are worried of anything you might have missed or forgotten, there is a redirection service by the Royal Mail that can ensure any post in your name is sent to your new address for a certain period of time. On the other hand, it is also important when moving into a new house to not open any mail not address to you. Most letters will have a return to sender address which you can use to notify the sender that the previous occupiers are no longer at this address.
As you can see there is more to your post than you think that could put your property at risk. It may only take a small part of your day to store and dispose these items securely, but it will make a big difference in the long run. Learn these points and soon it will become second nature to think about what you receive and what you throw away, getting you one step closer to a secure peace of mind.
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