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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection The Resource Center | article

Protect Your Identity During Spring Cleaning

As you go about your spring cleaning this year, don't forget about your identity. Thieves would love to get their hands on any documents you throw away with your personal information on them. And it's not just the physical papers you need to worry about - your computer, smart phone and other electronic devices have a gold mine of information about you as well.

Protect yourself from identity theft during Spring Cleaning with these helpful tips:

  • As you go through old paperwork, don't just throw it out. Create a 'to be shredded' pile for documents containing any of your personal information. Even information that may seem safe, such as a mailing address, should be shredded. You never know what could happen if it ends up in the wrong hands so it's better safe than sorry.
  • Any documents you decide to save containing personal information should be stored securely. You may want to consider purchasing a filing cabinet or other storage system with a lock.
  • When clearing out old files from your computer, be sure that you're not saving any containing sensitive information a hacker might find helpful such as a list of passwords or accounts. If you delete documents, make sure to empty your recycle bin to ensure the documents are really gone.
  • Clear the memory in the internet browsers you use on both your computers and your mobile devices. You may have saved passwords or personal information from websites you've logged in to previously that hackers could access.
  • Make sure you anti-virus software is up to date and run a full scan on your computer to make sure you haven't picked anything up.
  • If you get rid of old computers, smart phones or other devices be sure to wipe the memory completely and restore to factory settings.