There is a lot to do and keep track of while you move. From packing up everything you own, hiring a moving service, and scheduling times for your cable and internet to be installed, your to-do list may seem never-ending. Despite all of the commotion and chaos, you must protect yourself from identity theft.
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that identity theft affects approximately 9 million Americans each year. During the process of moving your information and identity is particularly vulnerable. If you’re not careful, you could be dealing with much more than just moving homes.
How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
- Shred Old Documents
It doesn’t make sense to move things you no longer need. For this reason, people often get rid of old mail, documents, and financial information before they move. However, simply throwing these documents out could result in your information getting in the wrong hands. Instead, shred any documents you no longer need so the information is properly destroyed.
- Change Your Address
About 10 days before you move, notify the post office and change your address. This can be done in person for free or online at http://bit.ly/2vUFVFo for $1.05. Once that is done you should also notify your bank, credit card companies, health care providers, and insurance companies. Any mail from these organizations could have private info that you would not want to go to your old address.
- Pack Sensitive Documents and Personal Items Yourself
If you’re planning on hiring a moving service, you should still pack and move important items yourself. This includes the following:
- Cash or Jewelry
- Financial and personal identification
- CD documentation, social security cards, and licenses
- Legal documents such as deeds, wills, car, and home titles
- Medical records
- Personal items such as family heirlooms and photo albums
- Personal papers
- Do Your Research
Before you hire movers, do your research and ensure the company you choose is reputable. Read reviews, visit the company website, and ask your friends and family if they have any recommendations. You can also visit the Better Business Bureau website and make sure they are registered with the Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
On the big day, make sure you or someone else you trust is monitoring the move the entire time. If no one is there to supervise, the movers may feel more inclined to sift through your information and steal your identity.
- Monitor Your Financial Information
Check your bank statements and financial accounts frequently after you move and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. You can also inquire with your bank about any service they have to help protect your information. The more precautions in place, the safer your identity will be.
With the right precautions and organization, it can be easy to protect yourself from identity theft. Knowing your identity is safe, you’ll be able to focus on your new apartment and the excitement that comes with it!