It's a scary statistic: every three seconds, someone's identity is stolen.
Police say protecting your identity is more important than ever, especially during tax season. They say thieves are watching your mailbox more than you, and waiting to steal your tax refund check before you can even open it, not to mention the checks some mail off to pay bills.
A lockable mailbox may be your best defense. "I'd say they're about 90 percent successful," said Tony Russell of American Door.
Russell says the postal worker drops your mail off and it's up to you to drop of your mail at the post office, a safer practice. Up until recently, Russell says lockable mailbox sales haven't been strong. "They have not been that popular over the years, but they're increasingly getting more popular as time goes by, apparently," he said.
Over at Lowe's, Jay Lowther says up to three a week are sold and are quickly becoming the mailbox of the future. "As a matter of fact, we've seen a spike in a lot of our sales and mailboxes that do lock over the ones that are the standard mailboxes," Lowther said.
Lockable mailboxes start at $75 and can cost as much as $600. Mail slot doors are also options, but Russell says they're less popular; however they are big sellers with Midtown residents.
There are also ways you can protect yourself free of charge if you live in Shelby County. Before you go on vacation this summer, you can call the Shelby County Sheriff's Department at 901-379-7625, let officers know how long you'll be gone, which cars will be parked at your home, and who might be coming to your home while you're gone. Detective Brad Less says officers will come by and keep an eye on your home and mailbox.
These are some of the more unconventional ways to protect your identity. Pretty soon, they could become the normal.
To take advantage of the free vacation check service offered by Shelby County Sheriff's deputies, you can call 901-379-7625. If you live in the City of Memphis, officers also offer a similar service. You can go to their website, memphispolice.org to find which precinct to call.