Newlyweds: Protect Your Identities
In this LifeLock UnLocked post, our friends at the Identity Theft Resource Center provide some valuable information for newlyweds.
June is the traditional month for weddings, but as countless couples make their way down the aisle and vow to love, honor and cherish one another, identity thieves are waiting to make their move.
What’s the connection between newlyweds and this type of crime?
Everything about a couple’s identities is changing in that single moment, but all too often, identity protection is the last thing on their minds. In fact, the threat to their identities begins in the months leading up to the big day.
- Paying by physical check. With venues to reserve, caterers, photographers, and florists to hire, and so many other little touches that make their wedding day perfect, young couples may find themselves writing more checks in those few months than they typically do. Those checks contain enough pertinent information for a thief to steal their identities, especially if they’ve added their driver’s license numbers to the check for additional security.
- Password protect wedding websites & apps. With most couples opting to use a website or app to organize the details of their big day, this often leaves the door open to identity thieves to gather personal details about the couple. Password protect the site with a strong, unique password that isn’t related to your wedding date, venue, last name, honeymoon location, or anything else easily guessed.
- Changes in health insurance coverage. As a married couple, two people who were paying for separate individual coverage are now going to restructure their accounts to request family coverage. That means supplying new insurance cards to medical providers and discarding old ones. In the wrong hands, a medical insurance card can lead to a host of problems surrounding medical identity theft.
- New last name. As the majority of US brides still take their husbands’ last names, there are a lot of ways that their identities can be jeopardized. There are marriage licenses to apply for, and copies of that license must be provided to all the different locations where a name change will occur. This will lead to requesting and receiving new driver’s licenses, new Social Security cards, new checks and new ATM cards on a joint checking account, new credit cards, new life insurance policies… the list is exhausting. That means a newlywed couple’s mailbox is a gold mine for an identity thief as many of these documents and cards will come via the postal service.
What to do, as you say, “I do.”
No one wants to start off married life as victims of identity theft, so it’s important to take as much preventive action as you can before an incident occurs.
- When paying or placing down payments with vendors before your big day, consider using a cashier’s check or money order if you don’t know the vendor that well.
- After the wedding, keep a close eye on your mailbox for important documents. Consider having your mail held at the post office so you can pick it up in person. While this might be inconvenient, it’s something to consider if you both work all day and leave your mailbox unguarded, at least until you have all of those new documents securely in hand.
- Once the new cards and documents arrive, you’re going to find yourself with old checks, old credit cards, even an old Social Security card if the bride took her husband’s last name, so plan a date night to shred and destroy those old documents to keep a thief from getting his hands on them.
Finally, it’s important to establish good identity protection habits from the very beginning. As you adjust to married life, go ahead and get on the same page about how sensitive papers will be stored and disposed of, and how you’ll protect important documents coming into the home. Set up a schedule of when to monitor your credit reports. That way, you’ll be prepared for making big purchases like homes, cars or other major expenses.
Most of all, remember that the little habits you form at the beginning will help cut down on the stress that identity theft and financial protection can bring—leaving you free to enjoy your new life as a married couple.
This UnLocked Post is courtesy of the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.