Moving to a new home can be very stressful and challenging. You can be overwhelmed by the numerous tasks you need to do, which may cause you to overlook things like how to protect yourself from identity theft during the move.
Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any issues or queries regarding identity theft, please seek out professional legal assistance.
What is identity theft?
Whist it brings rapid advancement in communication and information technology that eases people’s lives, the digital age also spawns a number of serious problems including identity fraud. This happens when a person or organised group obtains the personal information of another and assumes the other person’s identity in order to make unauthorised transactions for financial gain. In Australia, identity theft is one of the most rampant crimes, with 4% to 5% of Australians experiencing financial loss from it every year.
When you fail to safeguard your personal information — such as your social security, bank account, and credit card numbers — during a move, you are exposing yourself to possible identity theft.
How to protect yourself from identity theft
Before you relocate, make sure that you have a clear plan and a detailed task list to guide you through the pre-moving process, the actual move, and the post moving phases. This plan of action would protect you from identity theft. We suggest the following practical ways when you move to your new home.
Organise your things way ahead of the moving date
Packing your personal belongings can be a daunting task, but with proper organisation, you can do it efficiently. Bulky and large pieces like furniture must be covered with cloth to protect them from damage should they accidentally bump against hard or sharp objects.
Secure them tightly with twine or tape. If you have already disposed of their original packaging, you can buy durable boxes to pack home appliances and secure them with styropor corners, which you can buy from hardware or home essential stores. Pack your clothes in suitcases or durable cartons and big boxes sealed with packing tape. For glass and ceramic items as well as framed pictures or paintings, use bubble wraps, thick blankets, or towels to avoid breakage before putting them in storage boxes. Label each box and tape an inventory of what is inside, either on top or on any side of the box.
Secure important documents and electronic devices
Assemble important personal documents together (e.g. personal identification such as passports, social security card, financial and medical records, and school records of your children) in a special document case or large folder.
Your personal computer and laptop must be safely secured and packed in a computer box or laptop bag. Handle these things personally during your move. Do not put them in your general packing boxes. The same applies to documents relative to your move like the contract for your new home, receipts, and other papers, which you may need to use or present when you reach your new place. Make sure that you keep them handy — in your bag or purse — where you can reach them easily.
Get rid of documents you will no longer need
After securing your personal documents, ensure that you do not leave any documents behind that could help potential thieves steal your identity. Instead of just throwing them in the trash, shred documents such as bank statements, old billing statements, letters, and other correspondences from Social Security and IRS that you may no longer need but may contain personal information and important account numbers.
Update your mailing and billing address
Submit a change in address form or update your personal information to notify the post office and billing companies that you are moving to a new place. This would cue them to redirect your mail and billing statements to your new address; thus, preventing unscrupulous individuals from accessing your personal information.
Hire a dependable and reliable moving company
Moving companies are manned by people who are practically strangers to you. Ask around for referrals. Before hiring a mover, check their credentials like their licenses and permits to operate, as well as their memberships and affiliations with legitimate organisations and associations. Check the websites of various moving companies and choose one with good customer feedback.
Accompany the mover
Do not just give your new address to the movers and let them transport your stuff on their own. Your presence during the move will largely help deter any possible theft. Likewise, should any issue crop up during the move, you will be there to personally address and resolve the problem.
Monitor your credit report
Regularly check your credit report from the time of your relocation to at least a few months after. This way, you would know if there are doubtful or unauthorised transactions made in your name, and you can promptly address or raise an alarm with those concerned.
Moving to a new residence can put not just physical but emotional strain on anyone, but with proper planning and organising, it should not be a hassle. Sometimes, you may need to keep some of your things in temporary storage, particularly as you sort things out in your new home. In this case, there are reliable self-storage companies like Spacer that are ready and available to assist you.
With a variety of storage spaces available to meet your needs, connect with Spacer at spacer.com.au. We can help you choose the best and most affordable rental space that would match your preference. Once you are confident that your personal stuff and belongings are safe and secure in their temporary storage, you will be ready to start a new beginning in your new home and neighbourhood. Visit Spacer today!