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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

When You Change Your Name to Get Married, Don’t Let Your Old Identity Get Stolen

Although February is generally one of the colder months of the year when it comes to weather, it is also considered one of the warmest when it comes to love and marriage. Not only is Valentine's Day on the 14th, but all of February is National Wedding Month. With the big day either about to take place or partners finally getting around to popping the question, now is the time for brides- and grooms-to-be to start considering some of the precautions they need to consider when taking-on a new last name.

When a couple goes about combining their two identities, the risk of one being stolen in the process can be elevated because so much personal identification information is exchanging hands. If you are about to tie the knot, you'll need to have a whole bevy of sensitive documents issued that reflect the new union which, if compromised by an opportunistic criminal, could be used to steal your identity.

Even though your name has changed, much of your personal information remains the same
Probably the most sensitive document is your Social Security card, as it relates to a number that is tied exclusively to you and anytime an account, such as a line of credit, is opened using it, you are responsible for the activity that takes place. When you apply for a new Social Security card that reflects your name change, the card with your old name will still have the same number on it. This means that there will now exist at least two Social Security cards that have your name on them that can be used either as a form of identification or simply to supply a thief with valuable information.

Protect the documents you had before and after your wedding
Be sure to keep your old Social Security card safe under lock and key so that you won't misplace it and it doesn't potentially fall into the hands of a criminal. You may need this document in the future to prove that you once went by another name, so don't throw it out. Do your best to keep both this original Social Security card and your new one safe by never carrying it on you unless you need it for proof of identification.

Buy your spouse the perfect wedding gift
The last thing you want to happen when you're starting your new life with someone is to have your credit score ruined by identity theft. If you are changing your name and going into marriage with blemishes on your credit report, it will make borrowing for big purchases difficult for you and your spouse. Start your marriage off on the right foot by enrolling in an identity monitoring service, so that you and your spouse will be alerted to certain kinds of activity taking place under either of your names that may indicate fraud.