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It is easy to consider the laundry list of items that burglars seek when breaking into houses.  They sort of fall into three main categories, but the third one isn’t always thought of when protecting against burglary.

The aforementioned categories that burglars seek to pilfer from can be broken down into:  monetary/replaceable, sentimental/heirlooms/irreplaceable, and your identity.

The last one listed, your identity, isn’t always on the forefront of people’s minds when preparing for break-ins.

And the overall result if you suffer a loss from any and all of these categories is the feeling of being violated—that emotional toll that it takes on you. 

Since the point of this blog post is to highlight the fact that identity theft is on the line upon any break-in, or as you’ll read in a second, even during times when a burglary is not committed, we’ll start with identity theft.

Simple measures can be taken to guard against a thief stealing your identity.  The first doesn’t even occur inside your house.

It is so easy for anyone to take mail out of a mailbox on the street if it doesn’t have a lock.  All it takes is one bank statement and they’re off on their way.  Invest in a mailbox with a lock and a slot for the postal carrier to insert the mail.

Lock up your documents.  In terms of inside the house, keep your financial and other information with personal records inside drawers with locks on them.  Of course a burglar could compromise the lock, but if they don’t see them and can’t get to them easily, they’re not as likely to seek them out and take them.  You could also lock them inside safes, of course.

Go paperless.  Most financial institutions offer the opportunity for you to stop receiving paper statements and instead have your statements accessible online.  This drastically cuts down on the amount of documents floating around with your personal information on them.

Buy a shredder.  You may opt not to go paperless or simply still have scores of documents laying around with social security numbers, account numbers, etc.  When you are done with them, don’t throw them out.  Shred them first.  Shredders are relatively inexpensive for the value they provide.

Getting back to our three main categories…another of the three categories that can be taken is the monetary and replaceable type.  This includes TV’s, non-family heirloom jewelry, gaming systems, etc. 

Because these are replaceable and on many people’s homeowner’s insurance policies, they may suffer less than when the other two categories are affected, although the emotional toll mentioned earlier still weighs heavily on people, no matter what is taken.

Your home has been broken into, invaded by a criminal, a strange person was in your personal space and he/she has taken your personal belongings.  This affects anyone.

The third category tends to be equal with identity theft in that it can’t have a value assigned to it in terms of dollars.  Many people will tell you that an antique family picture of past generations being smashed or a wedding ring of a great, great aunt being stolen is devastating—much like the trauma of having your identity stolen and the motions you have to go through to get things straightened out (sometimes it can take years).

So talk to a security professional, get a security system installed if you don’t have one, display your decals and yard signs and talk about ancillary components such as motion sensor lighting.  Bring up actions you can take such as keeping the shrubbery near you house low so as not to provide cover for thieves.

And please see the list of articles in our blog for the scores of other actions you can take to prevent any of the three categories detailed in this post from being affected.

Thanks for spending some time with us today.

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