Other Ways to Safeguard Your Identity
Get a locking mailbox and keep it locked! Be selective with whom you share the key; ask only trusted neighbors to collect your mail when you’re away from home.
Request a “Mail Hold” with the U.S. Postal Service (maximum of 30 days). Thieves watching your house will have a harder time determining if you are a soft target if they can’t see an overflowing mail box.
Requests forms at: https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/landingView.do or pick them up at your local branch office.
Indoor light timers are an inexpensive deterrent when you are away for an extended period of time. They give the impression of ongoing activity within the house by coming on/going off at programmable times during day and evening hours. (Yes, thieves look for lights during the day, too!)
Limit the information printed on your checks – avoid whatever identifying information you can.
When ordering new checks, arrange to pick them up at the bank instead of having them mailed to your home. If that is not an option, look for a postcard reminder that your checks have been sent. If the order hasn’t arrived before the postcard, notify the bank immediately as it may have been lost or stolen.
If you use credit or debit cards write “see photo ID” on the signature bar on the back of your cards. (NOTE: Some places like the U.S. Post Office will NOT accept cards that have such wording, so if you want to pay them with plastic, your card must carry your signature
Purchase a rider on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy that provides both money and assistance if you become a victim of theft.
When traveling, take extra precautions to protect your credit cards, passport, tickets, receipts, etc. Wear a money belt or similar item.
Make use of hotel safes as many can even accommodate a laptop!
Notify your credit card company where and when you will be traveling overseas. NOTE: With increased global travel and internet purchasing, spending patterns are becoming more difficult to track, giving identity thieves an advantage.
If you plan to purchase something outside your normal spending profile, let your credit card company know ahead of time so you are not embarrassed at the point of transaction.
When using public internet café terminals, log-out of every site. Close out of all browsers, delete the search history and leave no trace of your usage. Emergency situations may necessitate the use of a crowded facility, so be sure people are kept at a sufficient distance to avoid seeing your name, passwords and other vital personal information.
Next>> Month 12: When You Travel