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Published on October 28th, 2014 | by Sally Wenham

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Fraud Prevention Month: Protecting Information At Home

October is National Identity Fraud Prevention Month, highlighting the importance of protecting important personal information. This not only applies to the workplace but at home too. Here at the Post Office Shop, we would like to provide some hints and tips on how to prevent the risk of identity theft from the home.

Although the prevention of identity theft is important all year round, it is more pertinent now we are closing in on those long, dark winter nights. Given that the reduction in daylight hours poses an increased risk of burglaries, there are some steps which can be taken to protect not only valuables but personal information at home too.

The first step which can be taken to avoid identity theft is by shredding and letters or documents which contain sensitive information. We have previously mentioned this in our Q&A with Fellowes highlighting the different types of identity fraud.

Another way to reduce the risk of items being stolen is to store them away out of plain sight. Leaving valuables such as car keys, laptops and other expensive items in the view of a window leads to an increased risk of them being stolen.

A suggested way to keep expensive items secure is to keep them in a safe. Safes are compact and can be kept in discreet places around the home such as wardrobes and cupboards. Not only can they be placed out of view, but they can have enhanced security features such as electronic password protection and reinforced bolt locking to make them harder to crack.

As well as installing a visible intruder alarm, increasing visibility around the boundaries of the home will also be  a useful deterrent to potential thieves. The installation of low level lighting will provide a greater view of gardens and driveways and will also make burglars think twice about attempting entry as there is a higher chance they will be seen.

Limiting potential routes of access to a property will also work towards preventing the chances of theft. Closing side or back gates to a property reduces the amount of access to it and will reduce the chances of forced entry.

These tips extend further than the home too. If transporting a laptop between different offices, be sure to keep it secure in a laptop bag and to remove it from the car whenever not in transit. Leaving a laptop bag in a car overnight can significantly increase the risk of break-ins particularly if the car is left on the roadside rather than in a garage or on a driveway.

As much as we would not wish this upon anyone, if precious items are stolen, there are ways that these items can be identified. Make notes of any distinguishing features of jewelry and serial numbers on expensive electrical items. Serial numbers are unique to individual machines and will help them be identified quickly.

Also, marking items with a UV pen is a great way to identify them in the unfortunate scenario that they are stolen. As the markings will only show up with the use of a UV light, thieves will not realise that they have been marked.

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