Brides and grooms are busy people in the months leading up (and even following) their weddings. There are flowers to be arranged, photographers and caterers to be hired, dresses to be purchased and honeymoons to be booked. But with all of that activity comes the risk of identity theft, which can put the brakes on marital bliss in a hurry.
Both before and after the wedding, couples need to keep their guard up, even when doing fun activities like attending wedding fairs. To ensure that fraud doesn't end up on the guest list, newlyweds should keep these identity protection tips in mind:
• Don't sign up for trouble: At wedding fairs, brides and grooms are often asked to give vendors contact information. There's no guarantee that the vendor will safeguard the data they're given, so think twice before disclosing identifying information.
• Change accounts carefully: Many couples merge accounts after they're married and the long-held tradition of a bride taking her husband's last name is still going strong. The paperwork associated with both of these actions needs to be carefully guarded, as it often contains the information that thieves are dying to get their hands on. Shred non-essential documents that contain sensitive data.
• Pay wisely: Paying with a check can be a risky decision, but many couples hand personal checks over to wedding vendors. Just think about it: a personal check lists about everything an identity thief could need: names, addresses, phone numbers, bank names and addresses and bank account numbers.
• Safeguard the honeymoon: Traveling to that long-dreamed of destination is a great way to kick off newlywed life, but with travel comes the risk of identity theft. Talk to banks and credit card companies about where you're going so that they can help guard against fraud. While traveling, keep cards and IDs close at hand (or in a money belt) and stay vigilant. Once home, carefully monitor your accounts.