You have probably heard of identity theft but didn’t pay much attention to it. Anyway, what are the chances you can be affected by it? There is a high chance you can. According to an article published by the bureau of justice, there were 26 million U.S residents who were affected by identity theft in 2016.
The number keeps rising, especially with the more use of social media. This article will help you know how your identity can be stolen and how you can protect yourself.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is where someone takes your details and uses them as his. He or she can use those details in many ways, for example, opening a new account using your old account, using your credit card, and using your health insurance.
How does identity theft occur?
Your belongings can be stolen; an example could be your wallet, which may have your credit cards and other personal details, and they may end up using those details to steal your identity.
Once you are done reading your credit report, you may end up putting your report in the bin. Some thieves go to the dumpsite to look for people’s personal information as they know some people dump relevant documents without shredding.
You see those mails you rarely check on your mailbox? They can put you in big trouble. A thief may come and empty the inbox and use your information to get involved in fraudulent activities.
When you use your credit card in gas stations and food outlets, someone may use a machine to copy the information on the card and use it to steal your identity.
Social media is good. Some people are even making a living in it. But it has its cons. Too much information on social media can cause identity theft. Don’t assume because the account is private; you are safe because you are not. Limit what you write on social media.
How do you protect yourself from identity theft?
Empty your mailbox often. If you are going for an extended vacation, call the post office and ask them to hold the mails. Make sure the mailbox is well locked and in a secure place.
Make sure in everything you do; you are careful not to let out your personal information. When disposing of documents, make sure you shred them first. Do not use weak passwords on your accounts; using space on your password will make it secure. Research shows that very few people use space on their passwords. Use a long password with unique characters.
Avoid using public wifi, and if you must, make sure your accounts are secure. Make sure you have security software that will help you secure your gadgets. Do not give too much information on your social media accounts.
Identity theft protection
To ensure you are safe from identity theft, getting yourself the best identity protection services will be the best step. There are companies out there dedicated to protecting the identity of their customers. They monitor the activities in your account. They will inform you when you are at risk.
How to tell if you become a victim of identity theft
Go through your bills to make sure they are yours. You may be paying other people’s bills without knowing. Go through the report one by one and confirm it’s all yours.
Confirm your balance in your bank account frequently. Check your bank activities. Confirm there is no one else using your account.
Check your mails. Confirm you have all your bills and if the bills you have are all yours. Make sure all the letters in the mailbox are yours, and you relate to whatever is in those mails.
Check credit report
An identity thief can use your details to get loans, and they will not pay since it will not affect them. With the report, you can be able to tell activities that have taken place, and if those activities are not yours, you will tell. Ask for your report frequently. That way, you can be able to identify a thief early enough before they cause more damage.
Depending on which identity is stolen, the victim should report to the necessary authority. If it was the account details that were stolen, the victim should call the bank so they can close the account or freeze it to prevent more damage from occurring.
After reporting to the specific institution affected, the victim should also report to the federal trade commission and inform the credit bureau so that they have fraud alerts, and they can sort out if there was an issue.
Identity theft is quite on the rise, and you need to be on the lookout and make sure your details are secure. Make sure you are safe from identity theft. You better spend some coin to protect yourself by purchasing security software and hiring protection services. In case the theft happens, you may end up losing more than what you could have used to get a professional company that deals with identity theft protection.