Widespread theft of identity most often occurs when someone utilizes your personal information such as – name, social security number, date of birth, etc. – to impersonate you and typically use that information to steal from you.
This is a growing problem in the United States as well as the rest of the world, and the decline in the epidemic has exacerbated it as identity thieves target unemployment benefits and checks. Benefit theft increased by 2920% in 2020 compared to 2019. In total, the FTC received 1.4 million consumer theft complaints in 2020, 113% more than the previous year.
Here’s what you need to know to reduce your chances of being attacked, keep an eye out for warning signs, and take quick action to minimize the harm.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity thieves can vacate your bank and investment accounts, open new lines of credit, collect utility bills, steal your taxes, use your insurance information for medical treatment or, in the event of an arrest, give your address to the police.
Repeated data breaches mean that your information may already have been compromised. In this brand new reality, it is most advisable to take actionable steps to prevent malicious parties from using your personal information and ruining your financial life. Protecting yourself preventively from identity theft by using software that is tailored to safekeeping your data is one of the safest ways of keeping your identity data secured online.
7 Common Types of Identity Theft and Warning Signs
1. Credit Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when a perpetrator uses your personal information, such as your date of birth and social security number, to apply for a new line of credit.
Warning Signs: You may see an unexpected change in your credit history on your credit reports or an account that you are unfamiliar with. They can get a direct debit authorization or a court order against you. The best way to prevent this from happening is to freeze your balance.
2. Child Identity Theft
Criminals steal the child’s identity and claim the child’s name. It is often ignored until the victim applies for a student loan or other loan.
Warning signs: Check to see if your child is receiving credit card offers or late payment notices or receipts. To prevent this from happening, you can block your children’s funds.
3. Synthetic Identity Theft
In fake identity theft, criminals use a variety of identity data to create a fictional consumer using a social security number – often a minor’s number or a configured simple number – that is still in the database. Credit and collection agencies not included. . They then apply for loans and credit cards by name and address and often pay for years with increasing credit restrictions. Then comes the “fuselage” when the cards reach the limit and the criminals disappear.
Warning signs: When you want to lock your child’s funds and find out that their social security number is already in use. It often goes unnoticed until a child applies for a student loan. It can’t always be prevented because sometimes criminals will enter the social security number and use it before assigning it.
4. Taxpayer Identity Theft
Scammers sometimes use your Social Security number to file tax returns and steal your tax refunds or tax credits.
Warning signs: You may not be able to file the declaration electronically because someone has already been registered with this social security number and worked in a job. If you didn’t register early, you can defeat criminals on your behalf, and some states offer six-digit identity protection (after verification) more securely.
5. Medical Identity Theft
Using someone else’s identity to get medical care is stealing a medical identity. This is especially dangerous as it can confuse medical history and misrepresent doctors and hospitals in healthcare decisions.
Warning Signs: Your Insurance Claims or Payments The interpretation of services you do not know can indicate that someone is using your health care services. If you do become a victim, you should report it to your insurance company and health team to make sure the information on your medical record is yours.
2 Quick Ways to Prevent Identity Theft
1. Freeze Your Balance
Blocking your credit with all three of the major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – will restrict access to your records and prevent new credit files from opening. Locking and unlocking inventory is free whenever you want to open an account, and using your information to open a new account is the best protection against identity theft.
2. Save Your Social Security Number
Your social security digits are the catalyst to your private information. Hold on as long as you can. When asked for your number, ask why it is needed and how it is secured. Do not carry your card with you. Safely store or shred papers with your social security number.
Identity Theft is a serious crime that is plaguing the modern internet age. By protecting your private information and keeping an eye out for warning signs you can protect yourself and reduce the chances of being a potential victim of these crimes.