Personal Property Isn't All That You Risk In A Home Burglary: Don't Let A Thief Take Your Identity, Too

Posted on: 4 February 2015

If you are like most people, you probably assume the greatest risk from a home burglary is a loss of personal property or injury to your family. While these are real concerns, they might not represent your biggest risk. According to Bankrate identity theft is also a concern when an intruder accesses your home and may cause you more damage than a loss of personal property. Here are some ways to protect yourself from identity theft if someone does break into your home.

Your Computer or Laptop

Many people store their financial records on their computer or laptop and mistakenly think they are protected because they practice safe Internet use. While they are confident hackers aren't able to access their computer from cyberworld, what they fail to consider is what happens if someone gains access from the actual computer.

When a thief walks off with your laptop, he may have all your financial records at his fingertips, especially if you are lax about your computer habits within your own home. There are several things you can do to prevent losing financial and personal data in the event your computer or other electronic devices are stolen.

  • Don't use a master password for all your accounts. While it might seem easier for you, it's also simplifies life for a thief. Instead of multiple passwords to deal with, all he needs to crack is one to gain access to your data.
  • Don't store passwords on a notepad or in a password book on your desk. If you must keep a hard copy of your passwords, store them in a safe or in some place a thief would never think to look — like inside that food storage container in the cupboard.
  • Don't stay signed into your accounts.
  • Store vital records on a thumb drive and store that in your safe.

Hard Copies

If you are in the habit of storing the hard copies of your personal and financial records in a file folder or tucked into the desk drawer, you are also at risk if an intruder enters you home. This includes medical records, credit card and bank statements and any other identifying documents. To prevent identity theft due to access to your hard copies, follow these guidelines.

  • Shred any unneeded documents.
  • Store financial statements in a locked file cabinet or safe, preferably an in-wall safe or one that bolts to the floor.
  • Store the keys to the filing cabinet or the combination to the safe in a secure location somewhere else in your home.

Preventing Access 

Of course, the best defense against an intruder stealing your identity is to prevent access to your home when you are away. Combining a good home security system with practices shown to deter potential thieves is the best way to protect your personal belongings and identity too.

  • Keep entrances well-lighted or install motion detector lights.
  • Get a noisy dog. While potential burglars might not be afraid of a bite from little Fifi, when she sounds the alarm that someone is near, it is likely to send intruders on their way.
  • Don't announce when you'll be away from home — that includes updating your profile on social media sites.
  • Install a surveillance camera, preferably one that swivels. 
  • Lock your doors and windows when you leave home.

Keeping your family and personal belongings safe is always a concern, but don't forget to keep your identity safe too. If you have questions about other ways to keep your home safe, call your local home security company. Many are glad to assess your needs and give you feedback on ways to improve your home safety and can tailor their services to fit your needs.

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