Find out what you and your real estate clients can do to avoid joining the growing number of identity theft victims.
It’s sad, but true. Your clients are more susceptible to identity theft during the moving process. Recovering from identity theft can take up to six months. There are many commonsense ways your clients can protect themselves and minimize the risk of falling prey to this threat. By focusing on the risk of identity theft and fraud before, during and after a move, your clients can develop valuable habits that last a lifetime.
It’s easy to share too much information. Encourage your clients to think twice about what they disclose and to whom during the moving process. All personally identifiable information related to the move should be kept in a single box your clients keep with them at all times. Once sensitive documents are no longer needed, they should be shredded immediately. It’s also important to update to stronger, longer passwords on electronic devices and online accounts.
Conveniently, qualifying for a mortgage requires your clients to become familiar with their credit scores. That’s the first step. Transactional notification programs at banks and credit unions offer a second level of protection. For additional peace of mind, a credit monitoring service subscription can be a prudent investment.
Remind your clients about their unique susceptibility in these circumstances. For instance, in the days surrounding the move itself, keeping up with where mail’s being delivered (or sent from) can be a challenge. Using online billing and autopay options are smart ways to avoid losing or overlooking bills. Once the move is completed, governmental agencies, local utilities, insurance providers, employers, credit card companies, financial institutions, schools and medical professionals should all be notified of the new address. Remind your clients to set up mail forwarding with the US Postal Service, as well.
Moving can be hectic, but helping protect your clients from identity theft can make it less stressful. You can also help protect them from unexpected household repairs during the moving process, and give them one less thing to worry about, by suggesting an AHS® Real Estate Home Warranty.