Between packing, cleaning, planning, and keeping your normal life in order, protecting yourself from identity theft is probably not high on your moving to-do list. But it should be. Though you may not realize it, you are vulnerable to identity theft during a move. Important documents are moved from their safe and secure location and are more likely to be left out in the open while you prepare to (hopefully) carry them on your person on moving day. People are in and out of your house, things get misplaced, and if you’re stressed you may end up forgetting where you put certain things. Then there’s the mail forwarding: there could be a delay in your request leaving important private mail in the hands of your home’s new tenants or there could even be a mistake in the rerouting. These are all reasons to take the initiative to protect yourself.
So what can you do? Below, I’ll share three simple ways to protect your identity while you are in the process of moving.
1. Update Your Information: As soon as you have a new address, change your account information on all credit cards, bank documents, and bills. This will help ensure that all future mail goes to the right place. Additionally, if you decide to cancel any cards before your move, shred the card immediately. Not only will these steps help you with identity theft, but they’ll also help you out in terms of expenses on your way to your new home and in your new city. You should also set up mail forwarding for anything that you may have missed. It’s very easy to do and lasts an entire year after your move.
2. Keep Important Information Private: Believe me, I am all about multi-tasking and checking things off my to-do list. But is it a good idea to set up your new utilities while in line at the grocery store? No. You’ll be asked for your social security number, address, and security questions in the process and it is never a good idea to share that information with anybody, let alone the guy behind you in the super market. Set these things up in the privacy of your own home.
3. Carry Important Documents on You: Do not, I repeat, do not, pack any important documents such as financial statements, passport, or any legal documents, in a box to be moved in the moving truck. Keep them on your person during the move so that you always know where they are. No matter how great your movers are there is always the potential for mishaps that may lead to the loss or damage to a box in transit. It’s also a good idea to keep any electronics that may have personal information stored with you during the move. You know how your laptop saves passwords and log in information? Well you don’t want anybody to have access to that.
I know that moving is a stressful time and that the last thing you want is yet another thing to remember during an already hectic period. But with these three very simple steps, you could save yourself a very big headache.