For many parts of the country, spring is in the air, and that means it’s time to go outside and start working on returning your backyard to its former glory. After a long, cold winter, your property likely took quite the beating, and these first weeks of spring are the ideal time to assess any damage and get your lawn back to green and your shrubbery under control.
While spreading mulch, laying down sod and picking up gardening tools at the store may seem important, your backyard may not be all that needs reparation following the colder months. While you were cooped up inside by the fireplace waiting for the landscape to defrost, you may have been victimized by an identity thief without even realizing it.
While you might have been hibernating, thieves may have been very busy
This could have happened in any number of ways, such as while you were shopping over the holidays, by accidentally contracting a computer virus through an email, or if you unknowingly became the victim of mail theft. As a result, a criminal could have potentially used any personal information they had acquired in the process and opened up new accounts using your name or other personal information. No matter how an identity thief gets a hold of your personal information, they could potentially run up major debts in your name, scarring your credit report and irreparably damaging your credit.
Turn your unnecessary documents into compost
If you weren't a victim of identity theft over the past year, now is the time to take steps to help keep this crime from happening to you. You can begin by safely disposing of any documents or files that you have laying around that have things such as bank account or Social Security numbers plainly displayed. A shredder can be your best friend in this situation, and it can be the best way to destroy sensitive paperwork before throwing it in the trash.
"Prune" any thorns from your hard drive
You should also look into cleaning up the hard drive of your computer of any saved files that may be leaving you vulnerable should a hacker access your system. Documents like computerized bank statements are perfect fodder for thieves — especially if they are looking to go on a shopping spree using your funds.
By enrolling in an identity monitoring program, you can be warned about certain activities happening in your accounts so that you can take proper actions to combat what could be a potential case of identity theft. This way, you may be able to make a good start on keeping your credit looking as pristine as your backyard.