I love Spring Cleaning. There is something uplifting about removing excess and unnecessary things, opening the windows on a nice day and dusting out the corners of the house. Though this also means that we generally come across a thousand pieces of what we considered “important” papers that become garbage. Before you toss them all into the trashcan though, I wanted to make sure that you were keeping your Identity Safe! That’s part of my job as an Identity Guard Ambassador, to keep you on the up and up about how people are getting the information to steal identities.
I’m sure most of you have probably heard of Dumpster Diving. It has been shown on reality coupon shows to hoarders, however, did you know that it is also one of the most common methods of stealing a person’s identity? There were so many times I would toss out bills and paperwork with our information on it without ever putting the two together. It only takes a few pieces of a persons information to begin creating an identity and the last thing we want to do is just hand over that information readily. Here are two things you should be doing while Spring Cleaning.
- Investing in a shredder. Shred any documents you are going to toss out that have your account numbers, social security numbers or sensitive information. If you do not have a shredder, you can always use black magic marker!
- If you come across important papers, receipts and documents you mean to keep, do not leave them out! Put them in a safe place, preferably a safe, but you can always purchase a decent lock box or locked file cabinet at the store.
For many of us, Spring Cleaning also extends to our computers. I already started weeding out my personal Facebook Page, making sure that my information is protected in my email and that my passwords are updated. Many thieves are beginning to use Facebook as a means of gathering information since there are so many people that put their personal information on their accounts. And as FB loves to change it’s privacy rules randomly, it is important to go in and check on a regular basis to make sure that your information is private.
One of the ways I heard recently on the news that is being used is to surf through status updates for personal information keys to use as passwords. There are a lot of people that use their children’s names, birthdays, anniversaries and so on; it makes it easier for them to narrow down the possibilities. It’s always best to come up with a password you can remember that is more complicated and doesn’t use personal identifiers.
You can also enroll in KidSure, Identity Theft’s protection plans for families with focus on children.
Just remember while you are cleaning away this Spring that your families identities don’t go in the garbage. Make sure to keep your records and documents safe and/or remove important information. It just gets us one step closer to battling Child Identity Theft.
This service was provided to me for review at no charge. In addition I received monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.