When it’s time to move, there’s plenty to concern yourself with. With packing, hiring movers, cleaning, and the dozens of other small tasks that need to get finished before moving day, it’s easy to forget about something important. Often, what’s forgotten is proper protection against identity theft. During a move, you’re at your most vulnerable for identity theft due to the large amount of paperwork that includes your personal information, the need to sign up and transfer services, mail being delivered to your old address, and other factors. Here are three tips that can help you protect yourself during your move.
Before moving day, you’ll need to set up utilities at your new home, contact your cable company and transfer service, and potentially a handful of similar chores. Be extremely cautious about giving out personal information during this process, however. If you already have an account with a company, you probably shouldn’t need to give them your social security number again. It’s also unwise to give your information to workmen who come to your home to perform service, or to leave paperwork with your information lying around. If you’re starting new online accounts, be sure to set strong passwords for each. If possible, use 2-factor authentication, which provides further protection from hacking. Finally, shred any paperwork you don’t need to move, and box up any other papers with your information in files in a single box. Don’t load that box on a moving truck. Instead, move it yourself.
Proactive protection against identity theft is a good start, but even if you’re vigilant, it’s possible for someone to steal your identity. That’s why it’s also important to continuously monitor your credit score, bank accounts, and other online accounts for suspicious activity. You can even sign up for services that will notify you any time a transaction is made on your bank or credit card account. Catching these fraudulent activities early is important to prevent significant damage and quickly recoup your losses. If you haven’t already gone to paperless billing, doing so ahead of your move is a good idea. This way, your old address won’t mistakenly be sent bills that could allow criminals to steal your identity after your move.
Another vital way to prevent your mail from ending up in someone else’s hands is to be vigilant about address notification and mail forwarding. Your first priority should be to inform government agencies that are most likely to send correspondence including your personal information of your move. Ensure the DMV, IRS, and Social Security Administration are aware of your address change. Your bank should also be high on the priority list. Once you’ve directly notified these organizations, and any others you receive mail from regularly, you can use a mail forwarding service offered by the US Postal Service, and many others. These will forward mail for a few months and notify the senders of your new address, but don’t rely on them completely. That may not cover holiday or birthday cards sent by relatives, or other correspondence that’s sent less periodically. While these are less likely to include personal information, it could be a valuable piece for a criminal who knows what they’re doing.
Moving can be a stressful time, but when you work with experienced companies, your move can go smoothly and efficiently.
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