Ways to Prevent Identity Theft
Protect your identity in the wake of disaster
While you can’t control when disaster will strike, you can prepare for its effects.
In addition to looking out for your family’s safety, you should take steps to protect the identity of your loved ones.
Key steps to prevent identity fraud after a disaster
- Have your vital documents safe and ready to go. Gather up your personal and financial information and store this paperwork in one place in a waterproof bag. Keep the bag in a fireproof safe, if possible.
- Have back-up copies of all the contents of your wallet as well as originals of important papers.
- Store back-up copies of your computer, laptop and PDA documents – as well as your digital photos – in a safety deposit box located away from your home.
- Have a family communications plan so you can communicate with one another should you be in different locations. See the FEMA site for a sample plan and contact card.
- If you must evacuate, just grab the waterproof bag and go. Even better, if your fireproof safe is portable, take the whole thing.
- No matter where you’re staying after a disaster, be sure to protect important information and documents. They are the key to your identity; you may need this information to prove who you are.
- Use a shredder to eliminate personal information that might be thrown in the garbage.
- Obtain your free annual credit report from each of the credit bureaus, and review them frequently.
Another way to help protect your identity
The American Family Identity Theft Program includes our Identity Fraud Expense Coverage, which covers costs associated with repairing your identity, including attorney fees, loan application fees and lost wages.
Learn more about the American Family Identity Theft Program.