Keeping your personal information secure when moving home

Moving home can be a challenging experience. Whether you’ve just bought a new home, are moving into rented property, or have other living arrangements, you’ve got a number of things to organise for the move. These can range from figuring out how to get your belongings to your new place, to packing and unpacking.

With all that’s need to be done, people sometimes forget to protect themselves against identity theft when moving. A report commissioned by Royal Mail has found that 23% of movers take two weeks or more to tell their credit card providers that they’ve moved house. Meanwhile, about 15% of people surveyed received more than 20 items of mail addressed to a previous occupant during their first month of living a new home. Half of this number received finance-related mail, like bank or credit card statements.

Here are some things that you can do to protect yourself against identity theft when moving house.

  • Notify companies of your change of address
    Let financial institutions and companies like your bank, credit card providers and any utility companies or insurance firms you’re signed up with know that you’ve moved house. This way, they should stop sending post intended for you to your old address – which could otherwise be intercepted by identity thieves.
  • Get your mail redirected
    Arrange to have your mail redirected from your old address to your new one. This should minimise the chances of it falling into the wrong hands.
  • Shred unwanted sensitive files
    When moving, you may be tempted to throw away papers that you don’t need anymore. Bear in mind that these could contain personal information ranging from your address and date of birth to your bank account number and sort code. If you’re planning on disposing of these documents, ensure that you shred them.
  • Keep personal data safe during the move
    If possible, keep sensitive documents – for example, birth certificates, passports and financial statements – on your person during the move. Devices containing personal information – such as smartphones, tablets and laptops – should also be secured during the move, and password-protected.
  • Check your credit report
    You may want to check your credit report a few months after moving. This will tell you if there have been any applications for credit made in your name that you’re not aware of.

Your Equifax Credit Report & Score – which is free for the first 30 days, then £14.95 monthly – gives you unlimited online access to your credit report and score. It shows you your credit history, including any applications for credit made in your name.

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