Identity TheftJune 10, 2016 8:47 pm
Identity theft is something absolutely no one wants to deal with. It can swiftly deal a harsh blow to your finances and your life in general. Luckily, there is a means to stop identity theft in its tracks. Learn to employ identity theft protection best practices immediately.
Understand Identity Theft
Identity theft is when someone steals your personal and financial information. They then use this new information to “assume your identity.” The information they’ve stolen allows them to make transactions or purchases under your name and often with your money.
There are three primary methods of identity theft. First is the old school way. Thieves look for print information such as bank or credit card statements. These documents are often found by sifting through the trash.
The second method of identity theft is more high tech. Thieves use a number of technologies to digitally steal your identity. These often utilize the Internet, such as hacking corporate databases or sending out computer viruses.
The third method of identity theft is fraud. Thieves pose as your financial institution, credit card company, government agency, or another reputable institution. They’ll call or email you in an attempt to get you to give them your personal information.
Prevent Identity Theft
Everyone is at risk for identity theft. In fact, it’s a crime where many victims are initially unaware that a crime has even been committed. A few of the best ways to prevent identity theft yourself include:
- Don’t carry your social security card. Only give out your SSN when absolutely necessary.
- Don’t give anyone your personal information over the phone or email.
- Shield keypad of computer when typing passwords and ATMs when typing pin.
- Shred any information that contains personal or financial information. Examples include receipts, account statements, and credit card offers.
- Ensure your computer is up to date with the best virus detection software. Install a firewall for additional protection.
Another key way to stop identity theft in its tracks is by checking your credit report on a regular basis. Every American is guaranteed a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) every year. Review them for accounts with creditors you didn’t open.
Establish a Recovery Plan
Unfortunately, identity theft happens even to those that use identity theft prevention best practices. If you notice suspicious activity that hints towards identity theft, report it to the Federal Trade Commission and your local police department immediately. You can also use the help of an identity theft recovery service to resolve issues with banks, credit card companies, and other institution involved in the theft.
It goes without saying that no one wants to be the victim of identity theft. So incorporate the identity theft prevention best practices discussed above to ensure that your identity remains safe and sound for good.