Tying the Knot? Here’s How Newlyweds Can Protect Their Identities
8 February 2016
Filled with the planning, excitement, celebration and joy of a future together, the days leading up to and following a wedding are supposed to be some of the happiest of a bride’s and groom’s lives. However, identity thieves all too often see this as the ideal time to strike, bringing the high spirits crashing down in a hurry.
Studies show that newlyweds, alongside recent homebuyers and new parents, are among the most common targets of identity theft.
This risk arises at a time when couples’ identities are about to undergo the most significant change in their lives. ID thieves know all too well how to exploit the confusion surrounding these transitions. Here are a few ways identity thieves tend to target newlyweds so that you can keep yourself safe when it’s time for your big day:
- Wedding fairs: Even months before the wedding, couples often visit wedding fairs where they are asked to provide their contact information to vendors. However, there is no guarantee the vendor will be able to keep your data secure, so be careful when disclosing your information and try not to share it any more than necessary.
- Paper check payments: With so many payments to make, from the venue reservations to the florist, caterer and photographer, it’s no wonder couples write more paper checks than they are used to during the weeks leading up to their wedding. While they are convenient for the bride and groom, checks are also a convenient way for fraudsters to gather the personal information they need to conduct ID theft.
- Websites and apps: From online gift registries to travel websites for booking their honeymoons, couples are using an ever-growing number of online tools to plan their weddings. Although these platforms can be a big help to the bride and groom, storing financial information or posting travel details with these accounts can leave couples vulnerable to identity thieves looking for personal data. Be sure to protect these accounts with strong, unique passwords. We also recommend using just one credit card for online purchases in case any of your accounts are breached.
- Paperwork: In addition to all the exciting parts of a wedding, there is also quite a bit of paperwork that goes on to legitimate many of the changes couples make after getting married, such as name changes, adjustments to health insurance coverage and merging bank accounts. As all of the necessary documents are processed and validated, various copies of the marriage license as well as new drivers licenses, Social Insurance Cards, checks, and ATM and credit cards will change hands several times. This makes a newlywed’s mailbox or car an especially valuable target for fraudsters seeking “official” documents to back up their stolen identities. As old versions of these documents expire, be sure to shred or otherwise destroy them before throwing them away.
- Honeymoon: There’s perhaps no better way to celebrate a marriage than with some down time at a relaxing destination. When you’re traveling, however, be sure to stay vigilant. Only take the necessary documents with you when you go out, and make good use of the hotel safe for those you don’t need on your person. Avoid posting photos on social media until you return home, as any update from the beach is a clear sign to burglars that your home is unattended.
With so much going on leading up to your big day, keeping your identity safe can afford you some much-needed peace of mind. To better protect your identity, consider signing up for a credit monitoring service. Credit monitoring services can alert you to certain activity that may indicate fraud. This added level of protection could prove invaluable for especially at-risk newlywed couples, helping them begin their life together fraud-free.