Identity theft can be a scary thing. It can leave you feeling violated and like someone has stolen your life. So, what can you do to deter identity theft? Fortunately, you can do a few things to help prevent it.
Taking precautions can help lessen the chances of becoming a victim of identity theft and hopefully make you feel more secure about your personal information.
No one wants to become a victim of identity theft, but unfortunately, it happens too often. If you’re worried about becoming a victim or want to do what you can to deter identity theft, keep reading. We’ll share tips on protecting yourself from this growing crime.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a relatively new crime and one that has been increasing at an alarming rate. It represents someone stealing another person’s personal information to commit fraud or other crimes.
This can include anything, from Social Security numbers and credit card numbers to birth dates and addresses.
While identity theft can happen to anyone, certain groups are more likely to be targeted, such as the elderly, immigrants, and people with a bad credit history.
The good news is that you can take steps to protect yourself from identity theft. If you become a victim of identity theft, you must act quickly to minimize the damage.
How Does Identity Theft Happen?
Criminals can steal your personal information in several ways, including dumpster diving, phishing scams, and skimming devices.
Dumpster diving is simply going through someone’s trash, hoping to find discarded bills or other documents with sensitive information. Phishing scams are emails or websites that claim to be from a reputable source but are designed to collect personal data.
Skimming devices are often placed on ATMs or gas pumps and can copy the information from the magnetic strip on your credit or debit card.
Once criminals have your personal information, they can open new accounts, make purchases, or even apply for loans in your name. That’s why it’s important to protect your personal data.
What Can You Do to Deter Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a serious crime that can have a major financial and psychological impact on its victims. It can even endanger their lives. Unfortunately, it’s also relatively easy for thieves to obtain your personal information.
At the same time, you can take a few steps to deter identity theft and protect yourself. Let’s take a look at the most important ID theft protection tips.
Freeze Your Credit
It is free to freeze your credit and then unfreeze it when you want to open an account. You can freeze it with some major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Watch Out for Phishing and Spoofing
Attachments may often contain malware. Moreover, scammers sometimes call you and pretend they are government people or businessmen trying to steal your information.
If you want to know how to protect yourself from identity theft, remember never to click on links in unsolicited emails or texts. Ensure that the URL of any website you visit is correct before entering personal information.
Remember that 40% of phishing sites use .com domains.
Sign up for alerts from financial institutions. By doing this, you will be notified any time there is a transaction on your account, whether it is a credit card purchase, withdrawal from a bank account, or something else.
Safeguard Your Social Security Number
If you want to know how to protect your identity, keep your Social Security card in a safe location, and don’t carry it with you unless it is necessary. When giving your Social Security number to businesses, ask if there is another way to identify you.
Be sure to shred any documents that contain your Social Security number before discarding them.
Have Strong Passwords and Authentication
One of the most important things you can do is use strong passwords for all your online accounts. You can also use a password manager. In addition, you should add an authentication step, such as a fingerprint scan or two-factor authentication, to all your important accounts.
Use a Digital Wallet
This is one way of stopping identity theft. A digital wallet is a secure way to store your personal and financial information. You can keep your info safe from thieves by using a digital wallet. In addition, you can use a digital wallet to make payments online and in-store.
This can help prevent fraudsters from accessing your account information. To protect yourself further, only use reputable sources for your digital wallet. Only enter your information into websites you trust, and keep your login information confidential.
Check Your Credit Reports Regularly
Do this if you want to know how to stop identity theft. Reviewing your reports regularly will help you catch any suspicious activity early and take steps to resolve it quickly.
You can also place a fraud alert on your credit reports, which will notify creditors and make it more difficult for thieves to open new accounts in your name.
By taking these precautions, you can deter identity theft and help keep your personal data safe.
How to Avoid Identity Theft Online
Identity theft is a serious problem that can have lasting consequences. Fortunately, you can take several steps to protect yourself online. First, be aware of how identity thieves can collect your personal information.
They may try to phish your information by sending fake emails or setting up fake websites that resemble legitimate businesses. They may also use spyware to track your online activity or infiltrate your social media accounts.
Second, if you want to know how to avoid identity theft, take steps to secure your personal information.
Make sure your passwords are strong and unique, and never store them in a text file or Excel spreadsheet. Use a secure browser extension to generate and save passwords.
Finally, be vigilant about the sites you visit and the links you click. Avoid entering personal information on suspicious websites, and don’t click on links from unknown senders. By following these simple steps, you can help protect yourself from identity theft.
How to Prevent Medical Identity Theft
Medical identity theft can have serious consequences. Not only can it lead to false information being entered into your medical records, but it can also result in you being billed for medical services you didn’t receive. In extreme cases, it can even put your life at risk.
Luckily, you can take a few simple steps to protect yourself from medical identity theft. One way is to be diligent about who you give your personal information to.
Other ways to prevent medical identity theft include ensuring that you only share your health insurance information with trusted health care providers and never have your Social Security card or birth certificate unless necessary.
Also, keep an eye on your explanation of benefits statements from your health insurance company and any bills you receive from medical providers. If you see any charges that you don’t recognize, contact the provider immediately to resolve the issue.
Finally, consider adding a fraud alert to your credit report. This will make it more difficult for a person to open new lines of credit in your name. You can help protect yourself from medical identity theft by taking these precautions.
What to Do if You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
If your personal information has been stolen and used to commit fraud, it can be a traumatic experience. You may feel like you have lost control of your life and that the damage is irreversible.
However, you can take steps to minimize the damage and reclaim your identity.
You should contact the credit reporting agencies and place a fraud alert on your credit report. This will inform creditors that you are a victim of identity theft, and they will be required to take additional steps to verify your identity before extending credit.
So, what else is a valid response when identity theft occurs? First, you should close all the accounts that have been opened in your name or tampered with. Finally, file a police report to have a record of the crime.
By taking these steps, you can begin to take back control of your life and protect yourself from further damage. If you are a victim of identity theft, don’t hesitate to seek help.
How to Report Identity Theft
One of the first steps is contacting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). If you want to report identity theft online, you can do so at IdentityTheft.gov. The other option is by phone at 1-877-438-4338.
If you report by phone, you won’t get an ID theft report; if you report online, you will. This report can be used to resolve financial and other issues arising from identity theft.
You may also choose to file a report with your local police station. This could be necessary if you know the identity thief, they used your name in an interaction with the police, or a creditor or another company requires you to provide a police report.
Find more about how to file a police report for identity theft.
Identity Theft Affidavit
Thousands of people fall victim to identity theft every year. If you’re one of them, you may need to file an Identity Theft Affidavit. This document allows you to report the crime officially and proves to businesses that your personal information was used without your permission.
The affidavit includes your name, address, Social Security number, and a formal statement about the facts surrounding the identity theft.
It’s important to be as detailed as possible in your statement, as this will help businesses investigate the fraud and take appropriate steps to protect your information. In addition, filing an Identity Theft Affidavit is essential in protecting your identity and preventing further damage.
Best Identity Theft Protection Companies
Many different identity theft protection companies exist, but not all of them are created equal. When choosing a company to protect your identity, it’s important to consider things like the size and scope of the company, its reputation, and the features they offer.
No matter which company you choose, do your research and pick one that will give you the best chance of avoiding identity theft.
Identity Theft Prevention: Identity Guard
Identity Guard is a unique product that uses IBM Watson technology to monitor your Social Security Number, credit file, and social media profiles. It collects data and feeds it into a common database that calculates the most appropriate steps you can take for the best ID protection.
Its browser extension allows you to surf the web safely. Moreover, you get monthly credit report updates and scores. The Identity Guard Premier plan offers all of the above, plus a social insight report analyzing your presence on Facebook and working out potential liabilities.
This product is an excellent choice for those looking for comprehensive identity protection.
Stop Identity Theft With LifeLock
LifeLock is an excellent option if you are looking for protection against identity theft. Its services include credit bureau monitoring, dark web monitoring, a mobile app, an insurance package of up to $1 million, and more.
In addition, the company provides LifeLock Junior for kids and LifeLock Senior for adults. This is also one of the companies with the best identity theft protection for families.
Its 24/7 support service is always available to address any potential problems, and the company even provides lawyers to litigate your case if breaches happen.
Plus, they offer reimbursement for expenses and property loss. Some additional features include verification from USPS when you change address, lost-wallet protection, and a 60-day money-back guarantee.
With all these features, LifeLock is a great choice for anyone looking for total peace of mind.
How to Prevent Identity Theft With Complete ID
Complete ID is very affordable and an excellent choice for Costco members. In addition, the company offers precautions like monthly credit scores, annual credit reports, and monitoring of potentially unauthorized uses of your Social Security number.
But that’s not all—Complete ID also offers a neighborhood watch feature providing monthly updates on sexual predators, crimes, and criminals in your area.
With all these features, Complete ID is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to keep their personal information safe and secure.
What Can You Do to Deter Identity Theft?—Summary
Identity theft is a serious crime that can have devastating consequences for victims. Namely, the loss caused by identity scams and frauds reached $56 billion in 2020.
While you can take steps to reduce your risk of becoming a victim, it is crucial to be aware of the signs of identity theft and know what to do if it happens to you.
In this article, we’ve summarized some of the best ways to prevent identity theft. By following the tips we’ve outlined, you can make it much more difficult for someone to steal your identity and use it fraudulently. Of course, prevention is always better than cure, so take steps now to safeguard your personal information.
How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft: FAQ
How to check if someone is using my identity?
First, check your credit report for any unusual activity. Also, keep an eye out for any strange withdrawals from your bank account or unknown charges on your credit card. Furthermore, be on the lookout for any mail or bills you do not recognize.
What things do you do now that put your identity at risk?
One common way is through social media. If you share too much personal information, such as your address or phone number, you could make yourself a target for identity theft. Another risk comes from using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
When you connect to a public network, you could expose yourself to hacking and other cybersecurity threats. Finally, you should be careful about the websites you visit. If a site is not secure, it could risk your personal information, such as your credit card number.
How do you lock down your identity?
You can do this by keeping your documents in a secure location, such as a safe deposit box or locked filing cabinet.
You should also be careful about who you share this information with. Only give it to people and organizations you trust, and ensure that any online transactions are conducted through a secure website.
What to do when your identity is stolen?
If you believe your identity has been stolen, you should contact the three major credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit file. This will make it more difficult for someone to open new accounts in your name.
You should close all the accounts that have been opened in your name or have been tampered with. Finally, file a police report to have a record of the crime.
What are some actions you can take to try to protect your identity?
You can take several simple steps to reduce the risk of identity theft, such as shredding personal documents, using strong passwords, and avoiding phishing scams.
So, what can you do to deter identity theft? The most important thing is to stay informed about the latest threats and trends and act accordingly.