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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Protecting Against Identity Theft Before and After a Move

There are a variety of different identity theft schemes thieves use, and many of them are based on popular trends or seasonal activities. When a number of rental leases are expiring — such as each year in June — many thieves will target people who are in the process of moving or who have just recently changed addresses.

Moving can be a grueling and time-consuming activity, during which individuals may be thinking about everything other than identity theft and their credit reports and scores. This is exactly what thieves are counting on. Because people may be more focused on how they’re going to get their couches into their new apartments, and not about the safety of their bank statements, many may be vulnerable to identity fraud and other scams.

It’s important to take certain precautions during a move and immediately afterward in order to keep a good credit score from being tarnished by an identity thief.

Reducing Identity Theft Risk During the Relocation Process
Individuals who are packing boxes and loading up moving vans often will look to trash as many unnecessary items as they can in order to save on costs and to reduce clutter. However, in throwing out boxes of old papers, people may be putting themselves at risk for identity theft.

Prior to disposing of any documents, movers should check to see if the files contain any revealing private or financial details, such as their Social Security number or bank account information. If so, they should be properly shredded to help you stay safer from dumpster-diving identity thieves looking for your personal data.

People who plan to save some of their important documents should avoid packing them away, and instead, carry them on hand. By storing it in a box and giving it to hired movers, individuals lose control of that material, which may put them at risk.

Protecting Credit Reports and Scores After a Move
After settling into a new apartment, people should take the necessary steps to ensure their financial information is in order. In addition to checking their bank account details, individuals should also order a copy of their credit reports and scores and look for any questionable or fraudulent items that may be a sign of identity theft.

It’s also important for consumers to make sure all bills are being sent to their new address, as any important mailings that arrive at their old residence may enable a thief to open a fraudulent account.