It’s to be expected that moving home causes a certain amount of upheaval in someone’s life.
One of the things most people don’t consider, however, is how to protect themselves from identity theft.
Between 2010-2016, there’s been a 52% rise in cases of identity theft amongst young people. And according to Experian, people moving house in London are three times more likely to be victims of identity theft. This is due to London having extremely high population density. It’s just easier for fraudsters to get hold of personal details.
One of the most vulnerable times is actually when you’re moving to a new home. Changing addresses, disposing of important information and sorting your mail are amongst some of the biggest challenges. Especially when it comes to making sure your personal details don’t fall into the wrong hands.
All’s not lost, however. Here are a few simple things you can do to minimise the risk of identity fraud.
Tell your bank you’re moving house
There’s always going to be people and organisations to notify when you move home. But your bank is definitely up there at the top.
Here’s why. First, you don’t want any important letters or documentation accidentally being sent to your old address. Perhaps the new inhabitants will be lovely and forward them on. Or – perhaps after the second or third misdirected letter – they’ll put them to one side and the letters will gather dust somewhere for 6 months. Then that becomes a problem for a bunch of different reasons.
Secondly, not telling your bank could have a negative impact on your credit rating. If you’re listed as living under two addresses and you apply for credit in the future, then you could get a nasty surprise once your application is returned.
As a general rule it’s a good idea to let them know as soon as possible, at least two weeks before.
Get hold of a shredder
Another important step is to make sure your existing letters and documents are disposed of properly.
It’s only natural when you’re moving home to do some decluttering. But wage slips, utility bills and any other documents that contain your personal information could be a magnet to potential identity thieves.
You don’t need to buy a shredder (although they are pretty useful) – however, borrowing one before you move house could make all the difference. A high priority would be anything that contains your National Insurance number, bank account details or any PIN numbers/passwords.
Contact Royal Mail to redirect mail
Even if you’ve notified your bank, utility provider and everyone else you can remember to tell them about your move, some letters can still slip under the radar.
Luckily, Royal Mail offers a paid service to redirect your mail to any UK or overseas address for a set of period of time. This is a really useful way to make sure your important information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. It should help give you additional peace of mind too.
Protecting yourself from identity theft
It’s an unfortunate reality that moving house can sometimes leave you feeling vulnerable.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, either. If you need more information, the ICO and Fraud Protection websites have plenty of advice about avoiding identity theft – including what to do if you suspect you’ve been a victim.
You can also follow us on Twitter for more hints and tips about moving house in London.