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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

When Hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Party, Beware of Identity Theft

Throwing a party can be stressful, especially when it is based around a holiday like St. Patrick's Day. Revelers tend to get pretty rowdy on March 17, and it falls upon the host to take care of the mess the day after. Unlike other major holidays, the host or hostess doesn't need to go about preparing a big meal, as the festivities during St. Patrick's Day are generally not too formal. As well, this holiday isn't really a family-oriented affair, so friends, acquaintances and sometimes even strangers usually find themselves mingling. Therefore, aside from the clean-up, St. Patrick's Day parties are generally low-maintenance gatherings.

But just because hosting a St. Patrick's Day party doesn't require a lot of planning ahead of time, that doesn't mean you should avoid preparing your home entirely if you decide to throw one. Not only do you want to have enough beverages for attendees and plenty green decor, but you'll also want to make sure all of your belongings are safe and secure. You may not know everyone who is coming to your party as well as you think you do — guests may even arrive with complete strangers in tow — which means there could potentially be someone mingling in the crowd looking to commit identity theft.

Lock up sensitive materials
Before the party starts, make sure that you keep all personal identification documentation, such as your license or Social Security card, locked away in a secure place. You won't need to take out your wallet to purchase anything in your own house, so try to hide it in a safe place that guests won't be able to access.

Some materials should always remain hidden
Your best bet is to use a safe or a locked file cabinet to hold your personal items during a party. No matter what, documents like your Social Security card and birth certificate should be kept locked away when they aren't being used to prove your identity. If a thief is able to get a hold of such files they could potentially open up lines of credit or take out loans in your name, run up large debts then leave you footing the bill — ultimately potentially hurting your credit score.

Designate certain areas off limits
The container that holds all of these documents should be kept in a safe, inconspicuous place that guests wouldn't likely enter to begin with, like your bedroom. Double up on the security of these items by locking the door to your bedroom during the party, as well.

So that an identity thief doesn't get a hold of your guests personal information — and then potentially load up their credit reports with fraudulent purchases — keep the jackets in a closet or room that is relatively centrally located. This way, attendees can keep an eye on their own belongings throughout your St. Patrick's Day party.