How can I guard against my tenants committing identity fraud?

Dear James,

Are there any security issues with credit applications being made from my address with regards to renting out my home, whilst I go off travelling? Do you have any suggestions/precautions which could help against my address/name being used dishonestly?

Christine, London

Dear Christine,

You should be okay as long as the tenants don’t try to hijack your existing credit facilities or apply for new credit in your name while you are away. Although you wouldn’t be liable for any money they obtained in this way – unless you acted carelessly with your personal details – clearing up the mess fraud leaves behind can be a real headache. As a result, I would strongly recommend that you redirect your post for the duration of your travels, or have the Post Office hold on to it for you. It would also be sensible for you to register to manage your bank account and credit cards online and to consider signing up to a credit report monitoring service like CreditExpert, so you can easily keep an eye on things while you’re on your travels. That way, if you spot anything suspicious you can raise the alarm right away and greatly limit the damage. (November 2012)

James
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