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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Identity Protection Fundamentals: Storing Critical Identity Records

By Garnet Steen, Founder and President of RelyData and Control Your ID

Have you gone paperless with your banking, utility and other documents or are you hanging on to physical copies to review each month and store in case you need them? Whether you’ve gone paperless or are keeping it old school, are those important documents handy? Because if you can’t access them when you need them, they aren’t doing you much good. In this the second in a three part series by SafelyFiled and Control Your ID, we will discuss the importance of digitizing paper documents and transferring digital documents for safekeeping and archival purposes.

There are many reasons why you might need your medical, insurance, banking or utility records. Perhaps you will need to dispute an error with your bank or utility account. You might also need these records for tax preparation, especially if you operate a small business out of your home and want to deduct a portion of your home expenses. Less common, but very important, you might also need these documents to respond to an identity theft incident.

Identity theft strikes about 10 million people each year. Especially in cases of financial fraud or criminal activity, victims are often considered guilty until proven innocent. Proving that you aren’t the bad guy is most easily accomplished by first, proving who you are, and second, by establishing that you did not commit these acts that were done in your name.

Identity theft can take a lot of different forms. We often hear about financial forms of identity theft – credit cards that are opened and maxed out, unauthorized charges on your existing credit cards, money transferred from your legitimate accounts and so on. These are serious issues, but identity theft can also involve medical, insurance, housing, education, tax and other government records that can be even more difficult to recover from. In the next part of this series we’ll discuss some of the documents and steps you’ll need to take to recover from identity theft, but for now, let’s focus on the importance of keeping your records safe and sound in digital format.

SafelyFiled, is a fantastic tool for this.  First, for any statements you receive digitally, you can drag and drop them from your computer or tablet into a SafelyFiled folder.  For paper documents, you can use the smart phone apps to take a picture and securely send them to your SafelyFiled account.  If you have a scanner at home, simply scan the paper documents into your computer and then drag and drop them into your account.  Once in your account, you can rearrange, tag, share and even send yourself automated reminders. They will be securely stored and available to you no matter where in the world you are.

Follow these steps and you put an end to your pack-rat days keeping years of monthly statements in those shoeboxes. You also won’t have to worry about whether your bank keeps six months or six years of your statements online. If you switch doctors or insurance companies, you’ll have the documentation you might need later, even if you’ve long since taken your business elsewhere. You’ll be in control of your digital history. 

Control Your ID provides identity monitoring and restoration services and is offering SafelyField blog subscribers get 25% off Control Your ID's Comprehensive Level (regularly $99.90 per year) identity protection service with no credit card required. To get the offer, subscribe to SafelyFiled's email list to the right by: submitting your name, email address and entering 'CYID2' in the message box. Subscribe by August 21, 2015 (11:59 p.m. PDT) to qualify.

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