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Burglary paranoia?
Old 04-29-2010, 04:42 PM   #1
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Burglary paranoia?

Anyone ever hear of identify theft via burglary - as in someone breaks into your home and steals documents and uses those docs to raid investment/banking accounts?

I'm trying to figure out if I'm just being paranoid, but as I don't have much physical stuff around the house, I feel concerned about my financial documents.

Am I being overly paranoid? It seems like it would be rare for a burglar to bother to stop and look through someone's files to gather sufficient information to try to steal someone's identity. It seems further unlikely as I'm assuming a victim of burglary should be able to contact their financial institutions to lock down their accounts, but not sure how effective something like that would be...

What, if anything, are you guys doing to secure any sensitive documents in your residence?
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Old 04-29-2010, 04:54 PM   #2
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Have you ever watched "it takes a thief" on discovery? It's about a couple of reformed burglars breaking into the homes of volunteer victims to expose their home's security weaknesses...

Anyways, one of the thing they go after is paperwork. Anything with SS numbers, account numbers, personal information, etc... They said that such information should always be kept under lock and key (make it harder for the thief to access the information and he might give up for an easier loot). My files are in a locked file cabinet which is itself in a locked storage room.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:13 PM   #3
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My stuff is stored in a safe which probably is not a safe place as if robbers broke in they say "Open the safe or else..." I'll open the safe and show a Rafael Palmeiro Rookie baseball card (I know, lost value cause of steriods), among other stuff.

I've heard a place to hide stuff is next to dipers as even robbers are people and would be turned off digging around poop to find loot
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:17 PM   #4
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The financial information in my statements is not enough for someone to access my on-line accounts - namely user names, passwords, and some accounts know which computers are authorized to access the account.

And we don't have paper statements anyway - we get them electronically. So little sensitive paper lying around.

The most sensitive stuff is probably the tax forms. But these have limited account information.

And some of the REALLY sensitive stuff (including tax return copies) we tend to keep in a bank safety deposit box anyway.

And computers have passwords and encrypted files.

And even if someone hacked into my investment accounts, they would have to set up a bank account in my and my husbands name to transfer anything. Not easy given today's account regulations.

And Fidelity provides a guarantee against unauthorized account access.

And we have an Equifax Credit Watch that warns about new accounts being opened.

Audrey
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
Have you ever watched "it takes a thief" on discovery? It's about a couple of reformed burglars breaking into the homes of volunteer victims to expose their home's security weaknesses...

Anyways, one of the thing they go after is paperwork. Anything with SS numbers, account numbers, personal information, etc... They said that such information should always be kept under lock and key (make it harder for the thief to access the information and he might give up for an easier loot). My files are in a locked file cabinet which is itself in a locked storage room.

Excellent show and great suggestion for folks to watch.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by skyline View Post
Anyone ever hear of identify theft via burglary - as in someone breaks into your home and steals documents and uses those docs to raid investment/banking accounts?

I'm trying to figure out if I'm just being paranoid, but as I don't have much physical stuff around the house, I feel concerned about my financial documents.

Am I being overly paranoid? It seems like it would be rare for a burglar to bother to stop and look through someone's files to gather sufficient information to try to steal someone's identity. It seems further unlikely as I'm assuming a victim of burglary should be able to contact their financial institutions to lock down their accounts, but not sure how effective something like that would be...

What, if anything, are you guys doing to secure any sensitive documents in your residence?
My country home was burgled last week. Everything was gone through. All my papers that I hadn't moved out of there were thrown around the floor. I have never been burgled that the thieves didn't have a good look at everything, unless I came home and scared them away. Once years ago the thieves had backed a truck up to my door when showed them my shotgun. Unbelievably the idiots said, "hey, can you tell us the way to the freeway?"

Basically I hate criminals as they cause us to go to all this trouble just to stay in place.

I know one thing- I will only live in a quality condo or apartment from now on. IMO there is no such thing as a "lock and leave" home, except perhaps in a very expensive gated community with a gatekeeper and private security. Maybe some of these over 55 MH communities with very stable occupants might fit too.

Ha
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by skyline View Post
What, if anything, are you guys doing to secure any sensitive documents in your residence?
Nice try Mr Burglar.
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:06 AM   #8
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Nice try Mr Burglar.
Now I know everyone's secrets!

Seriously, based on everyone's comments, it seem prudent to shred/lock up my documents. Most of my stuff is actually in electronic form and secure (well, at least as much security as 128-bit AES and a strong password provide), but I have paper copies of stuff laying around in the open with all kinds of information on them, so that's gonna have to go.

I think this is one case where LBYM isn't exactly helpful - if I had a nice big HDTV and fancy jewelry, burglars would probably grab those and run. As it is, I have almost nothing physical of value in the house, they'd probably dig around to find something else (like documents for id theft) to haul out...maybe I need to invest in some nice costume jewelry to leave out as a decoy?

Now I gotta find myself a good hiding spot. I'm thinking maybe gut out an old VCR and put documents in there. Who in the world would ever even look twice at a VCR?
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:35 AM   #9
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The bottom line with account takeovers, identity theft and the like is that the merchant or financial institution must be able to produce a piece of paper with your signature on it authorizing the transaction, or series of transactions. Absent that piece of paper - perhaps after jumping through a lot of hoops - you're off the hook.

We shred anything going out with SS #'s, account #'s and the like but don't bother keeping them under locks. Burglars usually arn't looking for that type of stuff anyway, they want something they can sell quick and easy. Identity theft is too much intellectual labor for the typical burglar.
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Old 04-30-2010, 05:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by haha View Post
My country home was burgled last week. Everything was gone through. All my papers that I hadn't moved out of there were thrown around the floor. I have never been burgled that the thieves didn't have a good look at everything, unless I came home and scared them away. Once years ago the thieves had backed a truck up to my door when showed them my shotgun. Unbelievably the idiots said, "hey, can you tell us the way to the freeway?"

Basically I hate criminals as they cause us to go to all this trouble just to stay in place.

I know one thing- I will only live in a quality condo or apartment from now on. IMO there is no such thing as a "lock and leave" home, except perhaps in a very expensive gated community with a gatekeeper and private security. Maybe some of these over 55 MH communities with very stable occupants might fit too.

Ha
Sorry you were burgled, haha. I know it can take a long time to feel secure again. As for us, we don't leave any passwords around. If they can figure out our filing non-system to find our past tax records for our SSNs, then they are more intelligent than the average thief. So far the only identity-theft type thing that's happened to me (knock on wood) is someone in Russia making a charge on my credit card, and I'm pretty sure they got that by hacking into a software company I'd just made an online purchase from. I called up the CC company and it was reversed immediately. So I think checking every item on your statement each month is important.
I also have Equifax, but only because it was given to me in a settlement from a contractor to my former employee lost the private records of 70,000 employees! No one had to break into my house to get my information.
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Old 05-01-2010, 07:16 AM   #11
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Burglars usually arn't looking for that type of stuff anyway, they want something they can sell quick and easy. Identity theft is too much intellectual labor for the typical burglar.
Yup. There are certainly exceptions but the overwhelming majority are looking for something they can sell easily, often to buy drugs that they need ASAP.
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