Big Bear, Ca April 8, 2011 3:00 pm – Many residents in the Big Bear Valley have experience with attempted identity theft. They may have received a phone call from a person who represents themselves as a bank or agency. During the conversation, the caller asks for verification of a social security number. Hopefully awareness of the risk of identity theft will keep most people from giving out this information. What many may not be aware of is that what is thrown in the trash can be mined for information as well. The trash cans at our local Post Offices are overflowing with mail that is unwanted. Some of this mail may include pre-approved credit card applications, checks for cash advances on credit cards, or other letters that include personal information. It has been reported to KBHR that trash collectors have been seen going through the dumpsters outside the Big Bear City Post Office. When asked, the Postmaster has stated the Post Office has no way to secure trash outside their facility. It is each customer’s responsibility to ensure that mail thrown away in the Post Office does not include personal information. If Big Bear Valley residents suspect that someone is using their identity, their child’s or another family member’s social security number, they should take four steps immediately. 1) Place a fraud alert on credit reports. 2) Close any accounts that you believe were opened in your name fraudulently. 3) File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on their online site. 4) File a police report with the local police department.