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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Before Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Be Sure Your Identity Is Protected

If you are throwing a holiday party for friends and family, you’ve probably gone to great lengths to make sure the whole affair goes off without a hitch. From picking out the best seasonal decorations, making delicious appetizers and choosing the right music, there are many tasks on your checklist of preparations that need to be addressed.

However, is protecting your home against identity thieves one of the steps you’ve taken before inviting guests over for holiday revelry?

You made a guest list, and checked it twice, but did an identity thief slip onto it?
You may think you know and can trust everyone who swings by your house over the holiday season. However, according to the National Crime Prevention Center (NCPC), if you become a victim of identity theft, the odds that it was stolen by someone you know are nearly 50 percent. One of these criminals, whether they are an old friend or a casual acquaintance, could take advantage of your hospitality during the holiday season and try and track down personal identification information (PII) in your house then use it to open up accounts.

Organize your PII as much as you would your gift wish list
Before opening up your doors for a holiday get-together, organize any material laying around your home that may, if discovered, leave your identity vulnerable. This includes all forms of ID, bank statements, credit applications, insurance documents and, most important of all, Social Security cards.

Save important documents – ditch the extra stuff
Throw out any bills or receipts that you absolutely don’t need that go along with purchases you made using a credit card before the party. As well, any form or application with your address, name or birthday that you don’t intend to file should also be shredded before it goes into your trash can.

For those essential documents, like your passport or birth certificate, invest in a fire-safe and keep them locked up at all times when they aren’t being used. This way, you’ll know where to go when you need them and the casual identity thief won’t be able to infiltrate your PII.

Keep your mind at ease this holiday season and enjoy your guests without being worried that someone you think you can trust is out to steal your information. By locking up important papers, shredding non-essential ones and enrolling in a credit monitoring system, you can worry about the party instead of your credit.