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Hurricane season may be almost over, but the threat of a damaging storm still lurks. Preparing yourself and protecting your personal information both before and after disaster strikes is as critical as ever. Unfortunately, natural disasters provide a perfect opportunity for scammers to strike as well.
When Nature Attacks: Protecting Personal Information - Survivors of catastrophic events often face a long, challenging recovery. While they rebuild their lives, they must take care to guard against man-made threats, namely identity thieves and scammers who can damage their good name and credit. Disasters that put you at risk: (map of United States with legend key of disaster types for each state) Florida: Hurricanes, California: Earthquakes, Wildfires, Tsunamis - New York: Hurricanes - Oklahoma: Tornadoes - Texas: Hurricanes, Wildfires, Floods, Tornadoes - Top 5 states with presidential major disaster declarations: 1. Texas, 86 major disasters 2. California, 78 major disasters 3. Oklahoma, 73 major disasters 4. New York, 67 major disasters 5. Florida, 65 major disasters - Personal Information Impacted: Information to Protect: Social Security Number, Contact Information, Government-Issued Identification, Birth date, Birth place, Online information, geolocation, verification data, Medical records information, account numbers. What to Expect: Top 3 Scams after a disaster: 1. Insurance Fraud 2. Home Repair Fraud 3. Charitable Donation Fraud - What you can do: Take steps before and after a catastrophe to protect personal information: 1. Create a family ID theft protection plan. Make front-and-back copies of personal documents and store them in a safe deposit box. 2. Store irreplaceable items in the cloud. It's easy and affordable to store photos and estate documents in an online vault. 3. Protect information and documents. Never let these items leave your sight. They are the key to your identity. 4. Check your credit report. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com 5. Hold your mail. Ask the post office to hold your mail until you've settled into your home. 6. Watch out for post-disaster scams. Beware of identity thieves who may call, text or email you soliciting donations. 7. Call your financial institution to see if they offer identity theft management services.
Above, our fraud protection partner, IDT911™, shares some information and tips about safeguarding your identity during, and following, a catastrophic event.