We often talk about protecting your home and property. While that’s deservedly one of our top priorities, it’s important we don’t forget to secure something just as valuable: your identity. Identity theft is all too common, with a recent study showing fraudsters stole $16 billion from 12.7 million Americans in 2014 alone.
Here are some simple tips you can implement to decrease your chances of falling victim to identity theft.
Safely Store Sensitive Documents
If you keep sensitive documents at home, lock them up – don’t leave them lying around. Even well-hidden items may not be as secure as you think. A heavy safe bolted to the floor is one of the best ways you can store records, financial documents and extra forms of identification. It may be worth investing in a safe that is rated to stand up to emergencies like fires or floods.
Another option, is taking advantage of your bank’s safe deposit box. This is a bit cheaper than buying a safe, and you won’t need to worry about taking up space inside your home. The only drawback is you won’t be able to access your documents outside of bank hours.
If You Don’t Want It, Shred It
Anything containing personal information that isn’t worth storing in your safe is worth shredding. This may include bank statements, receipts and insurance documents.The last thing you want is a criminal digging through your trash and finding your bank account information or social security number.
Cut Out the Middleman
It’s hard to protect sensitive data once it’s out of our hands. If you need to mail sensitive documents or records, take them directly to the post office. Don’t risk possible interception by leaving them in your mailbox.
Neighbors Can Be Your Friends
Similarly, avoid letting mail pile up when you’re out of town. Recruit a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail on a regular basis. This will ensure you don’t have sensitive information sitting outside unprotected. When it comes to security neighbors are often our greatest allies.
Limit the Information You Share Online
People submit all sorts of identifying information when signing up for services online. This is often unnecessary. If someone asks for anything other than your name, make sure you know why it is needed, and how it will be used. Read privacy policies to ensure your data isn’t being handed over to someone who will take advantage of it.
Create strong passwords for online accounts, update them regularly and never share them. It’s no surprise unique passwords are harder for criminals to guess, but hackers often obtain lists of log-ins and passwords during data breaches, eliminating the guesswork. A regularly updated password means that by the time a criminal gets his hands on it, it may already be outdated – keeping your information secure.
For more than 40 years, Crime Prevention Security Systems has provided Orlando, Gainesville and Ocala residents top-of-the-line home security. Our experts’ top priority is equipping you with the knowledge and resources to keep your family safe, no matter what.
Get in touch with one of our specialists today to see what we can do give you the peace of mind your family deserves.