When flipping through junk mail, many people do not think credit
card applications and sweepstakes gimmicks could endanger their
However, in 2003 more than 9.9 million Americans were victims of
identity theft, collectively losing $5 billion, according to a
press release issued by Eloise Campanella, Larimer County Sheriff’s
Press Information Officer.
“Identity theft is rampant,” Campanella said. “It’s absolutely
Campanella said most of this theft happens when mail containing
credit card information or blank checks is stolen. This kind of
theft is hard to trace because many people do not even know that
their mail has been stolen and by the time they find out it is
often too late to prevent identity theft.
Campanella said she uses a locking mailbox to protect her mail.
She also pointed out that the red flags on mailboxes used to alert
mail carriers of their outgoing mail might also alert thieves.
“It’s just telling anybody, ‘Come to my mailbox,'” Campanella
While a locking mailbox may be an effective way to protect
important mail, many students said the chances of them buying one
for protection was slim. Amber West, a senior microbiology major,
said that while she has a locking mailbox because she lives in an
apartment, she would not buy one if she lived in a house.
Rachel Perez, a senior sociology major, agreed with West. She
said she does not take specific steps to prevent identity theft,
and she would not consider buying a locking mailbox.
“I always just think, ‘What are the odds of it happening to
me?,'” Perez said. “If it happens, I’ll deal with it.”
Dealing with credit card companies and debt collectors while
trying to recover from identity theft can lead to long-term
problems and mountains of paperwork.
Another potential threat that fills the Lory Student Center
Plaza every fall is credit card solicitors, according to Sgt. Chris
Wolf of CSU Police Department.
“I’m real hesitant to do any of those anymore,” Wolf said. “You
just don’t know where the information is going.”
Wolf said that to protect against identity theft, students
should avoid solicitors, particularly those trying to solicit in
the residence halls, which is illegal. Also, students should keep
their social security number private, shred all documents
containing personal information and not respond to e-mails
requesting personal information.
“All of the (e-mails) that I have seen have been fraudulent,”
Wolf continued that it is also a good idea to have your credit
history checked out once a year to ensure that no identity theft
While it can be hard to track identity thieves, Wolf said it is
important to still always report this crime if you have been a
For more information on preventing identity theft, check out