Identity theft is possible if you’ve compromised your information in some manner. However, it becomes unfathomable when all you’ve done is let a cleaning crew managed by a legitimate and long-standing cleaning company into your home. One Reddit user experienced the latter scenario and as one can imagine, he wasn’t all too pleased with the cleaning crew prying through his personal belongings and information.
As you can imagine though, the Reddit user who caught the cleaning crew wasn’t home to witness the theft. Otherwise, the cleaning crew wouldn’t have committed the crime. Instead, the savvy Reddit user found out via a security camera that he installed in his home before leaving.
What the Security Camera Divulged and How the Reddit User Found Out
Installing a security camera in your home is the first step, but it takes much more than installation to find out that someone is intruding your space and stealing from you.
In this particular scenario, the Reddit user installed the security cameras, hid the cameras in a undetectable space, and let the camera run while he was away from home. While at work, the Reddit logged into his security account, which streams in real time what’s happening in his apartment. Upon logging in, the user monitored the cleaning crew stealing his personal information.
During the course of the video, which is now unavailable on YouTube, the cleaning crew enters the home and while cleaning the living room, the camera catches one employee rummaging through the homeowners stuff. Specifically, the cleaning crew employee finds old credit cards, documents, and other forms that divulge private and compromising information. After finding the information, the cleaning crew employee photographs it and leaves.
Unfortunately, despite calling the authorities, the cleaning crew was gone by the time they arrived and moreover, prosecution was not possible since nothing was technically stolen.
The Key Point to Take Away
There is a great deal to learn from the experiences of others, including this one. Here, the main takeaway is that having a home security system is invaluable to any homeowner since even legitimate businesses that you trust are fully capable of performing identity theft and other criminal acts. Installing security cameras are not only useful for catching thieves in your home, but they can also come in handy to monitor your home in case of break-ins, emergencies, and other issues that require your immediate attention.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of a home security system, let’s touch up upon how you can protect yourself against identity theft in the future.
Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft: Top Tips
According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, the occurrence of identity theft is increasing. In most instances of identity theft, thieves target existing account information, bank account information, and credit cards.
Rather than provide thieves with the tools and capability to steal your identity, there are a number of measure that you can implement at home and away from home to protect yourself and your information.
Keep Financial Documents Stored in a Safe
Installing a security camera in your home is the first step, but there are many other things you can do to protect yourself. After installing a quality security system that allows you to monitor in real time, you should find yourself a secure safe to store your valuables and important information. With a safe involved, you can keep your personal belongings under locks, even if someone manages to break in.
Avoid Falling for Phishing Scams
Phishing is the process of sending people fraudulent emails seeking financial and personal information. Unfortunately, many Americans fall for these scams and answer the emails with information that can compromise their identity. The best way to avoid becoming the victim of a scam is to recognize when you’ve received a phishing email.
Phishing emails are usually recognizable because the email will include a bank or other financial institution asking for personal information. The key is to understand that these institutes will never request information via email. Therefore, rather than reply, just delete the email from your inbox.
Monitor Your Personal Information
Another worthwhile step that you should take is to monitor your personal information on a constant basis. At least once a week, review all of your financial accounts for any unrecognizable charges.
If you find something suspicious, you can contact your financial institution to dispute the charges. In most instances, the charge will be reimbursed. Afterwards, you can discuss with the bank on how to secure your account from intruders.
Shred Mail You Don’t Need
While it may be tempting to toss your mail in the trash after you’re done with it, it’s a much better idea to shred the paper instead. By shredding your sensitive documents, you can prevent identity thieves from rummaging through your trash and attaining full copies of everything.
For an extra security measure, you should mix up the shredded documents and toss them in separate bins in bags. This way, rummagers will have a particularly difficult time piecing anything together, thereby attaining information.
Your Credit Report and Social Security Number
Finally, it is important to recognize that identity thieves can be quite cunning. Some implications of identity theft are only detectable on your credit report. As a result, you should periodically review your credit report for any changes.
In addition to checking your credit report, it is also recommended that you keep your social security number as secure as possible Never give it away over the phone or to someone you don’t know. You can also be certain that your bank will never ask for your number over the phone.
There is a great deal to learn from one Reddit user’s experience with identity theft. Now that you know that even in the least expected situations identity theft can occur and what you can do to protect yourself, you’ll be aware of the issue and what preventative steps you should take to keep yourself safe.