Home > 2013 > Identity Theft > 7 Tips to Protect Your Identity In a Disaster

7 Tips to Protect Your Identity In a Disaster

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

The giant tornado that tore across the Oklahoma City area recently, killing dozens of people, is a sobering reminder that we can never be fully prepared for a natural disaster.

With tornado and hurricane season underway and summer’s heightened risk for brush fires just around the corner, it’s a good time to take steps to protect your loved ones — and their identities — from harm.

Here are some steps to secure your identity before and after catastrophe strikes:

1. Create a Family ID Theft Protection Plan

Make front-and-back copies of personal documents and store them in a safe deposit box. That includes birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, as well as Social Security, voter’s registration and medical insurance cards. Remember credit and debit cards.

2. Store Irreplaceable Items in the Cloud

It’s easy and affordable to store irreplaceable items in an online vault. This includes special family photographs and historical, estate and trust documents.

3. Back Up Key Information and Documents

Whether you’re in a shelter, staying with friends or crashing on your family’s couch, never let these items leave your sight. They are the key to your identity.

4. Check Your Credit Report

Call 1-877-322-8228 or visit AnnualCreditReport.com. Consider adding an initial security alert to your credit report by visiting any of the three major credit reporting bureau’s websites. Another great way to monitor your credit is to use the free Credit Report Card, which gives you a monthly update to your credit scores.

5. Hold Your Mail

Ask the post office to hold your mail until you’ve settled into your home. This will keep thieves away from sensitive materials left in your mailbox.

6. Watch Out For Post-Disaster Scams

Beware of identity thieves who may call, text or email you soliciting donations. Think twice before you give them money and/or personal information.

7. Call Your Bank, Credit Union, Insurer or Financial Planner

See if they offer identity theft management services. Some institutions offer this service for free, as a perk for being a member or account holder.

Image: iStockphoto

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.