How to prevent your identity from getting stolen if you rent to the wrong Airbnb guest.
Don’t let this happen to you. Here are a few simple but effective ways to protect your identity and other important personal information.
Rent to the Right Guest
Yes, it’s possible that you could do all the due diligence on a potential Airbnb guest and still end up being on the unlucky end of the stick. But if you do your part in screening your potential guests, you greatly improve your chances of avoiding problem guests. Don’t leave this to chance, do your homework.
Identify Everything You’d Want to Protect
You can’t protect yourself if you’re not even clear with WHAT you want to protect. First things that come to mind are any documents that would allow someone to potentially steal your identity. Things like passports, social security cards, bank statements, anything with your full name and address. What else? Here’s a great list of items to protect.
Make It a Very Tough Target
Make very clear which areas/rooms are off limits to your guest. Sometimes a good deterrent is all that is necessary to protect your information. For instance, if you put your documents in a safe, in an off-limits room that is locked and monitored with security cameras, it becomes a very tough target. Thieves are savvy and know when a target is not worth the risk of getting caught.
Put Into Storage
Especially if you are going to be away during your guest’s stay, an even better option is to put all of your personal belongings into temporary storage. Many storage locations offer first month incentives but just make sure you’re not signing up for a longer term than you intend to.
Hold or Forward Your Mail
If you’ll be out, you should hold or forward your mail to another trust address during your stay. It’s easy to do either by going to your local post office.
Use a Shredder
Do you hang on to a piece of mail even though they’re years old? Shred with you don’t need anymore to prevent those from ever having the opportunity to get into the wrong hands. If you’re worried about your
Are you going to leasing the unit for an extended period or on a regular basis? If so, you may want to consider adding extra coverage for theft and liability on TOP of what is offered by Airbnb. Yes, Airbnb is awesome with their $1M guarantee but it doesn’t cover identity theft and a whole host of valuables like jewelry, fine art, vehicles, etc… Read the terms of service carefully to see if your valuables are covered and then decide if extra coverage is necessary. Although storage will likely be a cheaper option.
Use Good Passwords. Not “password”
Do you have computers, laptops, or other devices lying around the house? Whatever you access regularly, a thief could easily access the same sites and potentially steal your information. Make sure you password protect them with GOOD passwords. And if you’re really in a paranoid mood, you could always install snoop detector software on your devices (for computers, for mobile).
Get an Identity Protection Service
Even if you take all the precautions, it may not be enough. For some hosts, they opt to enroll in identity theft protection that often includes up to $1M in recovery insurance. There are many providers out there but reviews.com has put together a great comparison to help you make the right choice. Learn about the different identity protection services here.
For those who are visually impaired, an equally useful review from CompariTech is available here.
Think You Might Be a Victim?
Here’s a wonderful resource from Consumer Affairs with 9 warning signs of the top frauds and scams for identity theft.
Are these overkill? What do you think? Share your thoughts below!