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Thursday, July 21 2011

Moving to a new home can expose you to the risk of identity theft, so take precautions to guard your personal information as you finance your new home, close and open new bank or utility accounts, pack, and move.

“Identity thieves are pervasive and creative in finding opportunities to steal information, and something as simple as forgetting to forward mail can put a consumer in jeopardy of identity theft,” said Steve Schwartz, executive vice president of Intersections Inc., a consumer identity protection firm.

Schwartz offers these nine tips for keeping identity thieves at bay during and after a move:

  • Submit your change of address form at the post office. Then watch for a confirmation from the Postal Service confirming that your new information was correctly updated. Mail should start coming to your new address within 7 to 10 business days after filing; follow up at the post office if it doesn’t.
  • Shred sensitive documents that you’re not taking. Don’t be in such a rush that you toss papers with personal information into the recycling bin.
  • Monitor financial statements. Watch your bank and credit card statements for suspicious activity.
  • Use reputable moving companies. Do your homework before you hire a mover. Read online reviews, research the company, and ask trusted friends, family, or real estate agents for recommendations. Check the mover’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure it’s registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and has a U.S. Department of Transportation number before you sign any agreement or even get an estimate.
  • Keep documents with you. Transfer all important physical documents that will be making the move, such as wills, stock certificates, bonds, etc., to a safe and secure place such as a locked box. Keep physical documents with you during the move and do not leave any secure receptacles for movers or others to transport.
  • Lock down your computer. Devote time and resources before your move to make sure all computers in your home are hack-proof and packed and out of sight before movers arrive.
  • Supervise the move. Make sure you are present for the entire duration of the move. Your presence could deter potential theft from occurring and ensure that the movers take good care of your personal belongings.
  • Check your credit report. Take a look at your credit report for several months after you’ve moved. Any suspicious activity on the report may be a sign that your information has been compromised. If that happens, immediately contact the police, your banks, your credit card issuers, and have the credit repositories put a fraud alert on your credit profile.
  • Verify mail is being delivered. After the move, verify that you’re receiving all mail from the list of senders you identified and contacted beforehand.

Source: Intersections Inc.



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/9-tips-protect-your-identity-during-move/#ixzz1Sa5GJvaL
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, August 10 2010
If you're planning to buy a house, rent a different apartment or relocate your family anytime soon, chances are you didn't think that moving could make you the victim of identity theft.

But during a move, homeowners and renters alike are particularly susceptible to identity theft -- a crime which is especially prevalent during the summer, since half of all moves in the United States take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

So in addition to packing and coordinating with the moving trucks, you also need to safeguard yourself from fraudsters.

"Regardless of what people say, you can't prevent ID theft. But you can be a lot more aware and take some strong precautions," says Steve Schwartz, executive vice president of consumer services for Intersections Inc., an identity protection company.

Schwartz provided a rundown of simple steps that you can take to minimize your risk of identity theft and maximize your safety and security before, during and after a move:


Top 10 Safety Steps for Homeowners and Renters on the Move


1. Write everything down

Before you move, make a list of all the personal mail you routinely receive. Tell your banks, financial institutions, creditors and others of the move and redirect all correspondence, statements and sensitive mailings to your new address.

Be sure to notify:
a. Retirement accounts/banking institutions/credit card companies
b. Utility companies (electric, gas, water, cable, etc.)
c. Insurance companies (medical, property, renters, fire and auto)
d. Local government agencies, federal agencies & the IRS
e. Healthcare providers
f. Schools
g. Publications to which you subscribe (magazines, newspapers, etc.)
h. Clubs you have memberships in

Alternatively, consider switching to online statements. According to the 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report from Javelin Strategy & Research, consumers with electronic statements needed less time to detect fraud and paid lower consumer costs ($116 vs. $274) than those monitoring paper statements.


2. Submit a change of address form to the U.S. Post Office

Once your form has been filed, double-check the confirmation from the Postal Service to make sure that they list your new address correctly. Your mail should start being delivered to your new residence within seven to 10 business days after you submit a change-of-address filing.


3. Shred all sensitive documents that you won't take with you

Don't leave behind any paperwork, including credit card offers, that con artists can use if they go through your trash. Instead shred them yourself. A good shredder will cost just $50 or so.


4. Thoroughly research your moving company

Mover fraud is on the rise nationwide. To thwart this crime, properly investigate local moving companies by getting recommendations from trustworthy friends, family members, and real estate agents. Also, check a mover's rating with the Better Business Bureau. Finally, only pick a mover that is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and that has a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDDOT) number. The most reputable ones will supply you this information on request.


5. Remain present during the entire move

This may not always be possible, but just being there with the movers could help deter potential identity theft. Plus, you'll get to oversee any remaining packing or moving activities to make sure things are being handled properly.


6. Transport important physical documents properly
Transfer all sensitive documents – like wills, insurance policies, stock certificates or bonds – to a safe and secure place, such as a locked box, and keep these items with you personally during the move; don't hand them off to your moving company. You can also transfer sensitive documents to an online secure vault.


7. Lock down your computer

Don't make the mistake of leaving your computers (desktops and laptops included) readily accessible to your movers. Instead, secure those items before the movers even arrive. Take all computers, hard drives and other external storage devices with you during the move.

During his last move, "I packed my computers myself and they went in my car," says Schwartz, adding, "That's not a box you want to go with the mover."


8. Monitor bank and credit card statements

After your move, watch for unexplained charges or suspicious activity on your debit and credit cards. But also be aware that credit-related fraud "accounts for only about one-third of identity theft," Schwartz says. Non-credit related problems actually make up the bulk of problems, with thieves stealing your personal information in order to open new cell phones or bank accounts, establish utility services, or even get payday loans and fake driver's licenses in your name.


9. Verify all mail, post-move

Use your previously-created checklist to make sure that everyone you notified about your move has, in fact, started sending your mail to your new address. If something is missing, follow up immediately to make sure mail isn't still being routed to your old address.


10. Create a secure zone

After your move, even though there may be loads of boxes and furniture everywhere, carve out a secure zone – preferably one that's off-limits to movers and others. This is where you'll store computer items, check your data files or do personal financial record-keeping, like balancing your checkbook or reviewing credit card statements.


Regardless of whether you're relocating across town or clear across the country, a move can be hectic and stressful. But by taking some or all of the steps above, you'll help ensure that one important thing – your identity – doesn't get overlooked during your busy transition.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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The Trentini Team
F.C. Tucker EMGE REALTORS®
7820 Eagle Crest Bvd., Suite 200
Evansville, IN 47715
Office: (812) 479-0801
Cell: (812) 499-9234
Email: Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com


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