FORT MYERS, Fla. - We call it junk mail but too many people are finding out the hard way that thieves don't consider it junk at all.
They come in the mail everyday: pre-approved credit card offers, notices from your bank or car loan provider. Do you even pay attention to them? Well, maybe you should.
Carrie Kerskie is a private investigator and expert on identity theft. She tells us with the few details crooks can attain on your junk mail, it's enough to steal your identity.
"It'll have all your mortgage information, how much you owe, what interest rates you're paying and who it's with," said Kerskie. "They can actually go online and buy additional information. all they need is your name, address and a couple other qualifying pieces of information."
By the time victims discover the theft, it could be past 30 days and the credit card opened up under their names, is already used and maxed out.
So instead of just throwing away those pre-approved credit card offers, fight back.
First, you can try online sites like "Opt-out-pre-screen" which was created by the three major credit bureaus. The site allows you to opt-out of pre-approved credit card offers.
You can also opt-out of offers from the Direct Marketing Association, which is a trade group that sells your information to catalog companies.
These little steps can go a long way.
Florida is the number one state in the country for identity theft and here locally, Naples and Fort Myers ranked in the top ten cities with the most identity theft complaints to the federal government. So maybe next time, you shouldn't just ignore that junk mail.
"If it has your name, your address, or any other information, just keep a shredder right by where you sort your mail," suggested Kerskie.