Identity Theft is Hitting Home - Literally

What You Should Know About Household Help and Identity Theft

Identity theft is an increasingly-common problem that we all face, and we much each be vigilant regarding the possible ways that identity thieves can obtain our personal information for their own uses. While we are fairly inundated with the idea that identity theft is prevalent via the Internet, many of us overlook the potential for individuals entering our homes as household employees to gain access to our information.

How Do Identity Thieves Enter Your Life? Through Your Front Door!

Yes, you performed a background check on your housekeeper or nanny and you assume that the company that is sending someone to install your satellite system or check your plumbing has done the same.

It might be easy to let your guard down in these situations, but you should not be so lax. Background checks cannot predict the future. Simply because an individual has not committed illegal activities in the past, does not mean that they will not do so at some point -- especially if you leave the tools lying around, readily available!

When You Have Employees In Your Home, It Becomes A Workplace

Consider how you would treat proprietary or sensitive information at work if a competitor's employee were going to be wandering the halls. Would you leave paperwork sitting on your desk? Leave your computer screen on and displaying an important file? Certainly not! You should treat your own information at home with the same level of care.

If you have an individual entering your home, place all important paperwork (bank or credit card statements, blank OR completed/void checks, etc) in a file drawer that locks. Do not leave other papers lying around that have your personal information on them, such as your name, address, or phone numbers.

Have your computer password protected and make sure that it is locked before the person arrives. While this may seem like overkill, remember that it only takes a few seemingly unimportant and irrelevant pieces of information for an identity thief to begin to put together the larger picture of your identity.

Get Insured!

If you routinely have other people entering your house, consider adding an identity theft provision to your homeowner's insurance policy. Reasonably priced for the peace of mind they offer, they are invaluable, should an employee gain access to sensitive personal information.

Remember, your home should be your haven -- not an identity theft disaster waiting to happen.

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