Life Milestones Vs. Identity Theft: What You Should Know

“Life milestones in this day and age are often accompanied by significant sharing of personal data. Whether you’re getting married or buying a new home, you’re filling out many different forms both digitally and on paper – and you may have very little control over where your highly personal information goes,”  Hilary Schneider, president of LifeLock.

At a lunch with LifeLock earlier this summer, we learned some valuable information about the connection between our life’s milestones and identity theft. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the amazing events going on in our lives that we let our guard down and make it easier for thieves to make their way in as well. Hilary says that LifeLock’s  research shows that “People can take a few simple steps during these moments of time that may help reduce the risk of identity theft.”
Did you know?
  • Of the life events studied, newlyweds experienced the highest rate of identity fraud and are eight times more likely than the average population to experience identity theft.
  • New parents also face a heightened risk of identity theft at more than five times the average.
  • Both new homeowners and the newly single are almost three times as likely
  • Using auto-logins and using the same password for multiple websites, in exchange for convenience is also putting people at risk.

“At the end of the day, the answer to how we respond to this research is not to stop living our digital lives, but to be aware that life’s milestones include a lot of social sharing of personal data and to take simple, but crucial steps to protect our identities,” said Jean Chatzky, personal finance expert and LifeLock educational advisor.

Here’s what LifeLock recommends you can do to help prevent these issues:

Key recommendations for people living through these unique periods of time include the following:

 

For newlyweds: Getting married is a good reason to revisit a healthcare plan, especially if one partner has better coverage than the other. Newlyweds are 64% more likely to use online healthcare management services, a behavior associated with greater risk of identity theft. Additionally, those who have experienced identity theft within the newlywed group are almost three times as likely to have experienced medical-related fraud.
For new parents: Paying medical bills, filling out insurance information and securing a birth certificate are all part of having a new baby. All of this personal information getting routed through the system puts new parents at greater risk of identity theft. New parents are almost three times more likely to have health insurance information breached. Many doctor’s offices ask for a Social Security number but don’t really need to use it, so new parents should refrain from sharing this sensitive information if at all possible.
For new homeowners: From small updates and cleaning to major repairs, updating a new home can bring many new strangers in the house. New homeowners are 2.8 times more likely to bring unattended strangers home. New homeowners should make sure to securely store personal information.
For the newly single: Socializing with new people is part of entering the dating scene. It also means sharing personal details. Newly single adults are more likely to participate in risky behavior like using public Wi-Fi and are more connected than the average adult online population, and this increases risk.
For more information about how you can protect you and your family’s identity, visit www.lifelock.com

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