Preparing for extreme weather and natural disasters is a scary, often overwhelming task. Here’s how to keep your identity protected as part of a disaster preparedness plan.
While the state of Florida and the Caribbean islands struggle to recover during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, it is clear that the risk of extreme weather events is real. We must become better prepared as individuals for the increased identity risks that these extreme and costly weather events bring. One of the elements that many of us overlook in a disaster preparedness plan is document safety and recovery for identity protection; protecting critical personal or business documents is important and should have its own dedicated section in a preparedness plan. Why? It will help provide guidance to ensure the prompt recovery and salvaging of essential information after the storm has passed. Here’s what you need to know about disaster preparedness and identity protection.
Classify and prioritize!
As you classify the documents, note their location and indicate if they are physical or electronic records. If it’s personal, such as social security cards, birth certificates, marriage certificates, or important medical records, note that in the plan. Are they critical or essential? Just important or useful? Non-essential? This will help you know what to keep and protect so that these documents don’t get lost if you need to evacuate or lock up for safe keeping.
Plan how to protect your documents from damage.
With hurricanes come flooding, and with flooding comes damage. Consider investing in a small waterproof and fireproof safe. This will help safeguard your personal information against theft, water, and fire.
Consider digitizing your documents.
With smart devices acting like miniature, handheld scanners, it’s easier than ever to electronically save copies of your most important documents. Be sure to store these safely on your digital devices and use password locks as needed to prevent unwanted access.
Consider a recovery plan, just in case.
If you didn’t quite get to safeguard all of your essential documents before a natural disaster, it’s okay! Your safety is priority, and document restoration and destruction exists to recover after a terrible storm. Recovery methods will depend on your salvage priorities, the type of document, and the extent of the damage. For those that can be replaced by other means, consider document destruction. Despite water damage, identifying information can still be readable and put you at risk for identity theft. Legal Shred has special equipment to help you destroy waterlogged documents safely and securely as you recover from storm clean up. Be sure to gather these documents and keep them in a safe and secure location until it is time to shred.
A note from all of us here at Legal Shred:
With our home base being in the state of Florida, we must extend a huge thank you to our dedicated staff at who have worked tirelessly at the office with limited resources after Hurricane Irma. Our staff and our customers are what make us great! We are here to help our customers with their recovery efforts in any way that we can. Thank you from all of us at Legal Shred!
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