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Protecting Your Home Could Help Protect Your Identity

Like most families, yours most likely spends a considerable portion of its income on either a home mortgage or rent. Therefore, naturally, you want to protect that considerable investment.

A home is not just a roof over one's head—it's also the storage place for years' worth of precious personal property in which crucial information about one's identity is likely kept. 

If someone accesses your mail, computers and electronic files, financial statements, or other important personal documents such as birth certificates, passports and Social Security cards or numbers, that person could use that vital information to steal your identity.

Identity thieves can open new bank accounts in your name, buy cars, or get a tax refund, among many other things that could potentially wreak havoc on your life.

So, what are the best ways to help protect your personal information at home? Besides locking all the doors and windows every day—and perhaps even cultivating a friendly relationship with your neighbors to look out for each other's homes—there are a variety of steps you can take to help protect your personal information.

Here are some other simple tips to help you protect your identity:

  1. Buy a safe for valuables. Valuables aren’t just jewelry or cash. They can be documents that contain sensitive information about your identity like your passport, Social Security card and mortgage paperwork. Shred paperwork you don’t need to keep, and put what you do need to keep in a safe. The safe may discourage burglars from accessing your valuables and documents while also protecting those items in the event of a fire or flood. Alternatively, open a safe deposit box at your bank.
     
  2. Put a lock on your mailbox or use a mail slot so that not just anyone outside can access your mail and gather personal information about your identity.

  3. Lock down the Wi-Fi network in your home by using a strong password, and be careful with whom you share that password. Someone with access to your network may be able to access important files on your connected devices.

  4. Install a home security system, which may discourage intruders, and might also earn you a lower home insurance or personal property insurance rate.

  5. Consider an identity theft protection service. Even though no one can prevent identity theft or monitor all transactions at all businesses, having identity theft protection can alert you to possible identity threats, and help restore your identity if you become a victim.

 

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