Identity theft can affect you at any age. Last year, almost 18 million Americans fell victim to the crime. Whether you’re in grade school or enjoying retirement, everyone’s personal information has some value to a thief. Fortunately, more people have become aware of these dangers and know how to navigate through life more safely. Here is part two of how you can work to protect yourself throughout life’s many milestones:
Don’t let ID theft ruin a happy occasion. You’ve reached a place in your life where you’re finally ready to say “I do” and that’s certainly something worth celebrating. Who wants that happy memory tarnished by the havoc of identity theft? Taking some precautions before and after you walk down the aisle can help you protect your identity and enjoy your life as a newlywed.
- Pay for your wedding wisely. When planning your big day, be careful with how you pay vendors. With all the expenses that go into bringing your dream wedding to life, paying for everything with a credit card can cause a credit nightmare while paying with personal checks can reveal too much personal information. Cash orders or cashier’s checks are ideal, if possible.
- Be cautious on your honeymoon. After your big day, you and your partner are probably planning on a romantic getaway. To have a great time on your honeymoon, beware of the risks of traveling and identity theft. Tourists are often targeted for theft, since they tend to carry a lot of valuables and are in unfamiliar areas. Make sure your wallet isn’t full of sensitive information and use the hotel safe to store passports, jewelry and gadgets. Even if you’re careful in your travels, your mail can still pose a threat to you back at home. If you’re going to be gone for a long period of time, place a hold on your mail delivery or opt for paperless billing online to make sure thieves can’t get their hands on it while you’re away.
- Plan financially for divorce. While it’s not romantic to consider the possibility of divorce, it is wise. You and your spouse should never open a line of credit together. This can make things messy if you split up. If you are getting a divorce, there are some steps you can take in the interest of identity protection, such as immediately filing for legal separation from your spouse and keeping an eye on your credit report.
- Keep checking your credit report. You worked hard for your retirement and Social Security benefits, so you don’t want that to be jeopardized by identity theft. At this age, it’s important to keep track of your finances and credit.
- Protect yourself from medical identity theft. Medical identity theft is especially threatening to you at this age, so shredding any old medical statements and safely storing personal information can help protect you. These documents contain highly sensitive information such as credit card details and Social Security Numbers that can allow a fraudster to get medical treatment under your name. Besides your own trash, this information could potentially be accessed online as well, especially since the health care sector has been the biggest target for data breaches in the past three years. For these reasons, it’s always a good idea to monitor activity on your credit reports and any medical bills. If you get bills, calls or collection notices for any medical services you didn’t receive, something is definitely amiss.
We can take many precautions throughout our lives, but with all the scams and breaches in the world, it seems inevitable that at some point we'll find ourselves the victims of ID theft. That's how an identity theft protection service, like Identity Guard, can help—by monitoring your credit, Social Security Number and public record you can be alerted to certain activity in your credit file that could indicate fraud. Making our journey's through life just a little less perilous.