Protecting your identity AND the environment

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You can do your part to protect the environment while at the same time protecting your identity.

While we know that it’s important to take steps to protect our personal information, it always seems to end up at the bottom of the to-do list.

But identity theft is not going away any time soon. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 17 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014 alone. With numbers like this, chances are good that someone you know has been a victim. And you also know how much of a hassle it can be to deal with the aftermath of identity theft.

What if you could cross several items off your ever growing to-do list all at once? Did you know that many of the actions that help prevent identity theft also have the added benefits of simplifying your busy life and protecting the environment?

3 Environmentally-Friendly Ways to Protect Your Identity
  1. Go Paperless – An easy way for thieves to gain access to your personal information is by stealing your mail. Take advantage of the electronic delivery and online payment services that your banks, utilities, credit card and insurance companies offer. If you already pay online, but still receive paper statements, consider turning them off. Not only do you reduce the risk of identity theft, you reduce the amount of paper cluttering your desk and landfills.
  2. Eliminate Junk Mail – All of those pre-filled credit card offers that seem to arrive each week are another way for criminals to use your personal information to open new credit accounts. You can take steps to reduce the amount of unsolicited mail that you receive. The Federal Trade Commission website has an entire section devoted to privacy and security, including ways to opt out of unsolicited offers and telemarketing calls.
  3. Shred Documents – Believe it or not, criminals routinely sift through the trash of both homeowners and businesses looking for sensitive identity information. One way to prevent this is to shred any documents with personal information after they are no longer needed. While many businesses already shred documents with personal information, homeowners can look for similar services or invest in an inexpensive shredder from the office supply store. In addition to shredding documents, these services also recycle the paper, keeping it from the landfills.

So, set aside a few minutes this weekend to reduce the risk of identity theft. Eliminating paper mail will also help simplify your life and have a positive impact on the environment. Then, you can get back to that book or your favorite show.

Some personal insurance policies offer identity theft protection services. Consult with your local, independent insurance agent for information and coverage advice.


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3 Responses to “Protecting your identity AND the environment”

  1. Dave Goodwin

    Thank you. Great advice and good reminders. I’ve also heard that it’s a good idea to grab your mail out of your mailbox as soon as you can after it is delivered. Identity thieves can grab important mail without you even knowing it was delivered. Thus, while an expense, a P.O. Box can be a good way to mitigate that risk.

  2. BARBARA RANDOLPH

    Thank you for this valuable information. I wanted to mention at my house we recently installed a locking mailbox. Mail is inserted and the only way to retrieve it is to open the mailbox with our key. We figured this would be another way to avoid someone walking up on our porch and rooting through our mail.

  3. Barbie Sain

    Thank you for sharing! Found some information we did not know about!
    We have been caregivers for 3 elderly parents so have dealt with identity theft…ugh! We shred EVERYTHING that has any information that can be used. I open the credit card ads and shred the applications which have our names.
    Another tip…if you are going to be gone for a few days either have a trusted neighbour get your mail or have it held at the post office.

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