This is the second post from a series exclusively on Identity Theft. As mindless crimes are committed to steal identities from unsuspecting victims around the world, watching your bearings at all times (even at home!) could go a long way in protecting your identity from perpetrators. Interested in reading the previous post from the series? Find it here!
How does Identity Theft Happen at Home?
Your emails are encrypted, your online profiles are fake, and you don’t buy anything online, but you are the perfect target for identity theft. Identity theft at home is a growing problem today. While criminals are capable of stealing this online, it is easier when they have the right victim in person. They can steal your information right in your own home.
You want your home to be the kind of place where you can feel secure. Leaving your cash and information laying around could be a huge mistake.
If someone comes to your home and they have the intention of stealing your identity, they generally don’t want your cash or jewels. They want your trust and information. The more you trust them, the more information they can get from you. Most people have the things a criminal would need all over their homes. If you are in doubt, see if you can answer all of the questions below with a “no’.
Does the front of your computer screen face an open area?
Look around the room right now. Do you see any mail?
Is your purse or wallet in an area where it can be seen by visitors?
Is there any mail in the garbage?
Are there prescription drugs in the bathroom or anywhere else people might go?
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you could be putting yourself at risk for identity theft. Yes, people really will dig through your garbage to get information off of your mail. Even a glance in your wallet or purse can give them identifying numbers. People who can see what’s on your computer can see things that you would rather keep private. When it comes to your prescriptions, just about everything an identity thief needs is listed on that bottle.
These are just some of the basic issues. It doesn’t mean that you need to be a recluse who never allows visitors, but be smart about what’s available to them. Keep your personal items in a room no one else is allowed in. Put your bills in a locked drawer until you are done with them, or scan them into your computer before you destroy them. Never let anyone borrow your computer. Be sure to keep the screen visible to you alone.
Identity theft at home is a growing problem that can best be dealt with by using some preventative maintenance. This means keeping your personal information private and being careful about what you leave out. Naturally, you should also be careful about who has access to your home at all.