Your Identity While Moving

by staff on May 29, 2014

Moving VanThis has actually happened to me.  We were moving quite a distance from our then-current home.  We were back and forth to our new location on several occasions while we were house-hunting and closing on our new purchase.  As anyone who’s ever moved will know…. there are more than a few details involved in getting to the point where your previous home is in the rear view mirror … and it’s common to be distracted and overwhelmed with details during that time.   Easy targets.

Predators know this.   This is a common time to experience various versions of identity theft.   This is when you’re handing information to new phone/internet sources, setting up new insurances, hiring movers or other help,  and researching resources online.   And here are some tips to help you protect your identity during your move.

1.  Safeguard personal information on your moving documents.  Closing statements, loan applications etc …. don’t just throw away unnecessary copies.  SHRED EVERYTHING you throw away.  That For-Sale sign in your front yard has already alerted the thieves who want your trash.  And don’t trust anyone to move your locked file cabinet.  Locks are easily broken and sometimes items disappear.

2. Proactively pack your items that could be vulnerable.  If you have one or more than one computer, make sure they’re all password protected and placed where you can monitor them.  Don’t forget that the little flash drive is super easy for a stranger to put in his pocket.  If your Confederate rifle or your coin collection or phones or tablets are coming with you, be vigilant if they get out of your sight.  Ever heard of folks stealing your medicines …or worse,  your medical information?

3.  Take care to change your new address quickly because you don’t want your mail going to the new owner of your previous home.  It’s not that the new owner is unscrupulous.  It’s more that the new owner is as overwhelmed with his own move as you are with yours… and he’s also more likely to discard any personal information being sent to you as you set up new accounts…. without the precaution of shredding sensitive information.

4.  Take the time to monitor your financial accounts during your transition.  I know it sounds like a nuisance at a time when you’re already trying not to forget to load family members or pets in the car when you leave … but this one tip can save you many thousands of dollars of headaches.  Experienced con guys know that they can pass bad checks or rifle an account just before a weekend, thus gaining a couple of days until it’s posted on many accounts.  Sometimes they test you by posting a small amount to see if you’re paying attention, and if you don’t find it quickly they’ll move in to wipe out your funds.  If you move on the Fourth of July weekend, it could take nearly a week for you to regain your normal monitoring setups.  And by then the damage is done.

5.  I’ll try to be succinct about this bit of nagging that has become a mantra.  Don’t tell the entire world on social media about your moving dates or locations.  Really.  Aunt Maggie isn’t the only one who could see your tweets regarding when you’ll be away from home or your locations, and you don’t even want to know the guys who’re watching you from other continents.

6.  Ask a lot of questions if you choose a moving company to help you.  Will your mover combine your articles on the same load as some stranger’s for a different destination?  Are there any circumstances which would lead to the mover locking your possessions and if so, what are your options?  Of course make sure your mover is licensed and insured, unless you want to pay for Cousin Raymond’s free help that caused years of back pain bills.  Here are some other suggestions of details to verify when hiring a reputable mover…. and when hiring a mover.

In my own case, my bank called during the weekend of my move to verify that I had recently purchased some airline tickets.  No, I answered, I haven’t flown anywhere in a long time and don’t plan to fly.  They let me know that I’d just purchased 8 tickets to locations like Malaysia and Africa.  Nope.  Not me. But thanks for the heads up!

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