Changing the locks on your life post-divorce or post-breakup
When going through a divorce or breakup, the last thing you think about is changing the locks on your life. What are these locks I’m speaking of here? They are those passwords, pins, access codes, keys, account information that you may have shared with your significant other for the past years. Take these 15 steps below to make your life safe and secure for your future ahead.
1. Change your email passwords. Personal email is the key to all of your other online secure accounts. We use our personal email for password resets, authentication for financial accounts, notifications of online account activity, etc. It is the one thing you do not want to share with someone that has just left your life. Make sure to reset all of your personal email account password and turn on 2-factor authentication if available!
2. Change your Bank Account passwords. – This step and step one are vital! You do not want your bank account to have money one day and then it’s gone with your Ex! Banks make it easy to change passwords on either a smartphone or through a web browser. If 2-factor authentication is available use it! If you do not use online banking then you should still make sure your Ex is not on your bank accounts. Shared bank accounts should be unchanged until after the divorce is final, but you have your own bank accounts, make sure to change those passwords as soon as you can.
3. Change all pin numbers and passwords on Credit Cards and Debit Cards. Most Credit and Debit cards these days have both a pin number and a password associated with it. Make sure to change your pin to one you have not used or shared with your previous partner. If you had shared credit cards and debit cards, you will want to apply for your own cards.
4. Set fraud alert on your credit. This one may not seem necessary, and you may be right, However, if your ex knows your social security number and you have reasons to be concerned take 10 minutes to place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Equifax, Trans-Union, Experian make it very easy to put a fraud alert on your credit and take it off after you feel confident your credit is safe.
5. Change your Cell Phone password. This one is just as important as your personal email. Text messages, emails, financial data are all accessed and stored on our smartphones these days. Lock them down with good passwords or even better, if you have a newer model smartphone, consider using Facial Recognition or Biometric passwords such as a fingerprint.
6. Change your home alarm system access codes. This one can be a hassle if you have children that use the same code or if you have family or neighbors that know it. Trust me, you do not want your home alarm left as it is should your ex know the access codes. It only takes a few minutes and you can easily find the instructions online if you do not have them.
7. Change your Garage door keypad and remote codes. This one is often overlooked. Do not forget all the ways a person can access your property. You will want to look up your garage door model and reset both the Garage Door unit itself and your Garage Door Remotes.
8. Change the locks on all your doors to your property. This one is very straight forward. Find a locksmith in your area to change all the locks on your personal property. Have a few extra copies of keys made and leave them with trusted friends or family.
9. Change any codes and or passwords for Security Cameras. These days, it is not uncommon to see a Ring Doorbell or two on most homes. These security cameras have online access and can be used to view your whereabouts if someone were to have the password. Make sure to changes these as well.
10. Change your passwords on Computers, Tablets, and Smart Appliances. If these things are kept in your home or apartment, it is not as crucial as your smartphone, but if your ex has access to any of these things without you knowing it, it is always best to change those passwords as well. If you are wondering what might qualify as a smart appliance, this would be a smart tv, an amazon alexa, or any home automation gadgets.
11. Change your passwords on any other online accounts. These accounts would be like Netflix or Amazon Prime, etc. Do a quick audit of all your other online accounts that you may have shared with your ex-significant other. If you can not seem to recall any, check your credit card statements for any charges from these accounts. It will help jog your memory should you need it.
12. Social media accounts. Social media is how most of us stay connected with friends, relatives, and too much my chagrin complete strangers, like a future employer. If you shared a Facebook or Instagram account password with your previous partner, you will want to change it before they get a chance to “post on your behalf”. Yikes!
13. Return all Keys to shard cars. If you and your ex shared more than one vehicle, chances are you had keys to all the shared cars. Make sure to get the complete set to your car that you are keeping or that you own. If they do not return the shared key, ask your dealership or mechanic to rekey your car.
14. Consider having your car checked for tracking devices. These devices can be used by insurance companies or used by parent wanting to keep tabs on their driver kids. They are not hard to install on cars and are not easily found. A good dealership or mechanic can find them quickly.
15. Do these previous steps for your children. If you are primary or share kids with a previous partner, make sure to change the locks, passwords, pins, etc. on their possessions as well.
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