Whenever you move house, whenever your address changes, you’re exposing yourself to identity thieves. Yes you read that correctly, if you’ve bought a new house or rented a new apartment, you might not know it, but that move will give ID thieves and fraudsters a better shot at stealing your identity. You don’t have to take our word for, check identity theft’s crime’s statics, you’ll see that the crime’s especially prevalent during the “peak” moving season between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Why? Well, you’re at greater risk of becoming a victim of identity theft while moving because personally identifiable info is often carelessly shuffled around from former to new home by renters and buyers who’ve gotten all preoccupied with their move and overlooked the need to protect sensitive info.
Identity theft is a crime that’s with us to stay. It’s one of the most common crimes in the U.S. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 11 million of us have had our identities stolen this year. And the number, it’s been going up, not down.
Fortunately, now that you know you’re going to be more vulnerable and aware of how lurking identify thieves will try and take advantage of your impending move, you can work to ensure that vulnerable information is secured before you move out of your home. As you know, identity theft occurs when fraudsters gain access to personal information they can then use to or prepare fake documents in your name, hack into your bank account or go crazy with your credit cards. Moving makes that easier because you’ll probably leave info behind others can use. Mail that isn’t forwarded to a new address, personal docs that weren’t shredded but tossed out, or because you’ve accidentally contracted shady movers.
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Ways to Minimize the Risk
- Lock Your Computer Down Tighter Than You Lock Down Your Jewelry
- Download This Change of Address Checklist.
- Shred Any Sensitive Documents You Won’t be Taking With You
- Fill Out a Change-of-Address Form Then Submit it to the Post Office:
- Enroll in a Monitoring Service and Check Your Credit Report
- Do Thorough Due Diligence on Your Movers and Your Car Shipping Company
Becoming a victim of identity theft would be even less fun than the sight of a creature comfortless home filled with moving boxes that need to be unpacked before you can relax. So even after your move you’ll want to keep an eye out to make sure that your mail is being rerouted from your old home. You’ll also want to check back in with your old utility companies to be sure they’re trying to reach at your new address. Check with other companies you’ve “subscribed to” to be sure your accounts are closed at your old address.
Even months after your move you’ll want to keep an eye on your credit report and watch out for any changes that could be the result of identity theft. And if there are discrepancies on your report, notify the credit bureau and attach a fraud alert to your account immediately. Remember, even though moving house is inevitably going to be at least a little headache, that doesn’t mean you have to become a victim of identity theft in the process.
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