September is National Preparedness Month, so now is the time to create a plan to keep your personal information safe in case of a disaster.
When a hurricane, wildfire, or tornado hit, you will need to make sure you have access to your personal identifiable information (PII) as well as other important documents to help recover in the aftermath. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, here are helpful tips to be prepared for a disaster:
- Keep your documents with PII secure at all times by placing them in a safety deposit, lockbox, or another secure location.
- While you have important documents, such as your driver’s license and medical insurance cards, in your purse or wallet, make to have copies or expired cards stored in your secure location. That way, if you’re separated from your purse or wallet, the hospital or another agency will be able to look up your information.
- The same goes for financial information. Make sure you have access to your bank account information and any other important account information. Place that information in your secure location.
- If you are separated from your personal documents during a disaster, make sure to contact the corresponding authorities as soon as possible to let them know you need new documents. You also might want to place a credit freeze on your accounts and sign up for credit and identity theft monitoring if you feel your personal information has been exposed.
- Finally, make sure you are vigilant when dealing with those who claim to be from FEMA, contractors, or charities in the aftermath of the disaster. Scams and frauds spike after a disaster with con artists targeting survivors who have been impacted.
Use these tips when creating a disaster preparedness plan, so you can help keep your identity safe as well as your family and yourself.