Moving from one house to another can really be a tiring task. While moving, you may lose valuable items ranging properties, documents, and funny enough even identities!
According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly 9 million American Identities are stolen annually. Identity theft is gradually becoming one of the country’s leading crimes. It is advised that you protect yourself from identity theft, most especially when you are moving.
The threat of identity theft is more rampant to people who, while moving, throw away or discard personal information sensitive information, such as pre-approved credit card applications, utility bills, mortgage documents, etc.
A Complete Guide To Avoid Identity Theft
When not properly handled, moving puts you at a high risk of identity theft. Important valuables such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, emails and other sensitive documents become easy prey to thieves. The guide below will teach you how to avoid identity theft while moving.
- Avoid sharing information: This is very important. Before, during, and after a move, avoid sharing sensitive information with unknown persons. Information such as your new location, mailbox number, etc should be avoided.
- Hire a reputable, well known moving company: This is a very important step you must take if you wish to avoid identity theft. There are thousands of reputable moving companies who charge well for professional moving. Avoid the temptation of hiring the first moving company you see online offering a very cheap fee for a move on your selected dates. Research about the company first. Hiring a reputable, licensed mover helps increase your protection against identity theft as well as moving scams. According to Research, hiring the right moving company has saved 70% of people from ID thefts.
- Destroy old documents properly: Dumpster Scouting is one of the major ways identity thieves steal personal information. These thieves scout for old tax returns or discarded mortgage documents as these aforementioned documents contain social security numbers. These may seem ordinary documents to you, but to identity thefts, they are as precious as gold. If you must get rid of your old bills or documents, then use a paper shredder. Best advice: keep your old sensitive documents with you. They serve as record-indicators.
- Secure your devices:Devices such as phones, tablets, laptops, etc should be secured using long, strong and unimaginable passwords. Also use two-factor authentication if possible.
- Notify agencies of your new address:It is important to also notify federal agencies that send you mail of your new address. Take your time to write out a list of important agencies to inform of your new address, such as the Social Security Administration, IRS, and Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Monitor possible fraud: After you move, carefully monitor your credit card and bank statements for the next two to three months, checking well for fraudulent charges, which were not initiated by you.
What To Do After You Move?
One month after settling down in your new place, please ensure that your phone, gas, electric, cable and newspaper accounts are closed. This will keep identity thieves from re-opening your accounts after you leave. Also ensure that no mail is going to your old address, especially sensitive information such as credit card statements, car loans, bank statements, investment statements, mortgage statements or any other financial related documents.
With the aforementioned tips and guide, ceteris paribus, you are 100% safe from Identify Theft.