How to Avoid Identity Theft When Moving

The moving process can make your clients more vulnerable to identity theft and other forms of fraud, since often personal financial information isn’t adequately protected. As if moving wasn’t stressful enough on its own, it can take nearly six months for a person to recover from identity theft during a move.

People can do a few things to protect themselves from identity theft during a move, says writer Adam Levine, author of  “Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves.” He says to focus on the 3 M’s: 1. Minimize your exposure 2. Monitor your accounts 3. Manage the damage.

Here are some of Levine’s other tips:

  • Don’t share too much: Before, during, and after a move, avoid sharing too much information with those you don’t know, whether in person, on the phone, or via social media, Levine writes.
  • Secure electronics: Set long, strong passwords, and use two-factor authentication whenever possible. Secure computers, smartphones, and tablets.
  • Protect documents: Shred sensitive documents you no longer need. During a move, carry your personally identifiable information with you and in one box.
  • Monitor for fraud: Check your credit score and consider enrolling in transactional notification programs. You also might consider subscribing to various credit and fraud monitoring services to alert you to any sudden changes on your credit report.
  • Watch your mail: Your mail will be influx when moving so look into doing more online billing and autopay to prevent lost or forgotten bills.
  • Make address notification a priority: Notify federal agencies that send you mail of your new address. Compile a list of places to inform of your new address, such as the Social Security Administration, IRS, and Department of Motor Vehicles.

Source: “Moving: A Dangerous Time for Your Identity,” (June 9, 2016)

“Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission”

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