Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes worldwide.
Your identity consists of delicate pieces of information such as your Social Security number, your credit score, your public and criminal record, and your personal information like your name, address, and date of birth. Your identity opens doors for your future.
When your identity is compromised, thieves can use your stolen personal information to access your bank accounts, open credit in your name, and even create synthetic identities. When an impostor has access to your personal information, your reputation can be harmed, and doors close.
Types of Identity Theft You Need to Know
- Credit Fraud is when someone uses your personal information to access credit in your name. This can take the form of a credit card, loan, or financing. Credit fraud could destroy the reputation that you have built with lenders, but there are ways to identify and limit the damage that this crime can do.
- Identity Fraud is when someone gains access to your personal information without your knowledge and assumes your identity, then attempting to fraudulently use your financial resources or other benefits.
Common Ways Thieves Commit Identity Theft
- Mail Theft is when a criminal rifle through your mail looking for cash, checks, pre-approved credit card offers, and personal information.
- Phishing is when hackers lure you in to submitting your personal information, including credit card numbers and account log-in information. This is typically done with emails or text messages that are made to look like they’re coming from a trusted source.
- Data Breaches are when businesses expose customer information, either through hacking or poor security. Many of these events result in people getting their identities stolen from the information that was exposed during the breach.
How to Help Protect Yourself
- Use Strong Passwords – this is one of the simplest, yet most effective steps you can take to limit your exposure to identity theft, especially through data breaches.
- Never send you IDs via email - never, ever send a photo of your credit card, ID or passport via email. If a company is requested such information, it should be available via a form on their website. Make sure the communication with the website is secured (the little lock at the top of your browser where you enter the name of the website). Always write on the photo’s “for identification purposes for company XYZ only” upon that it cannot be misused by others.
- Enroll in Credit Monitoring – Check your credit card and bank slips at least once per week. Credit monitoring allows you to keep a watchful eye on your credit file and alerts you to any changes such as drastic changes to your credit score or requests to open new accounts. While credit monitoring can’t prevent credit fraud, it can help limit the damage that a criminal can do to your financial reputation.
- Enroll in Identity Theft Protection – If you’re tired of worrying about when the next big data breach will lead to the theft of your identity, consider enrolling in identity theft protection. Not only will this allow you greater visibility into any activity occurring with your personal information, it will also provide you with an insurance plan that can back up some financial losses that occur as a result of identity theft. If you’re looking for peace of mind, this is where you should start.
Scamadviser has partnered with Identity Guard®, one of the credit monitoring and identity protection service that can alert you to certain activity that may indicate fraud
This service is only available for purchase by residents of the United States of America.
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