Reducing Your Risk of Identity Theft

You May be Contributing to Your Risk of Identity Theft without Even Realizing It

Although many of us know of many ways we can reduce our risk of identity theft, there are some very common errors we make without even realizing it. Do you allow visitors unrestricted access to your home? Do you have household help come in every so often, such as a cleaning professional or a baby sitter? If someone has unrestricted access to your home, they have unrestricted access to your personal info, and this can lead to identity theft before you even realize it.

The Comings and Goings in Your Household

Think of all of the people that you allow into your home who have access to your filing cabinets and opened mail. Housekeepers, pet sitters, babysitters, the repair man, home-improvement contractors, and the person who waters the plants and picks up your mail when you’re on vacation are all people that you know, but you don’t really know all that well. While the number of people with access to your home will vary depending on your family’s specific needs, most people have several individuals entering their homes throughout the typical month.

A Ripe Opportunity

If you don’t lock up your filing cabinet or store your mail in a secure location, any individual you allow into your home has access to your personal information. This can significantly increase your risk of identity theft. Think of all the uninterrupted time that person potentially has access to your personal and sensitive information. A babysitter could have several hours of free time once your kids fall asleep. If you’re away on vacation, the errand person or individual who waters your plants has as much time as he or she desires. A housekeeper also has ample time to look through your personal information in between dusting and scrubbing floors.

Are You Careful Enough?

Make sure you store extremely important documents such as your social security cards in a locked safe. Keep all of your bank and credit card statements in a locked filing cabinet and put the key in a separate location. Don’t leave mail out regardless of whether or not it has been opened yet. Make sure you store all mail in a locked desk drawer so prying eyes can’t read it.

Allowing someone free access to your personal information is never a good idea. Following the above suggestions will significantly reduce your risk of becoming another victim of identity theft.

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