Identity theft has become a household name lately; unfortunately, it’s a major growing problem that everyone needs to learn about and take the proper measures to protect yourself and family from these types of crimes.
Identity theft needs to be taken seriously, especially with the advancement of the Internet; the facts are most everyone has a computer in their home, which allows for more identity theft than ever before. You need to recognize that there are now two avenues of identity theft, one being offline and the other online. Now, let’s take a look at what is considered identity theft and how to protect your identity.
Many forms of theft
Identity theft comes in many ways where thieves will steal your Social Security number and name, along with other personal information to commit crimes, mainly fraud to steal money or other personal gains.
The list of Identity theft includes; using someone’s Social Security number to access your good credit ratings, using it as a false identity to get a job, open credit card accounts, or borrow money such as loans using your name. Stealing credit cards by filling out a complete change-of-address form to intercept your credit cards will then be sent to a different address altogether.
Another common way they seal your identity checks fraud; thieves will steal right out of your inbox, bills you are sending out, and change who the check is made out to and cash them in person at your bank. Additionally, hot checks where thieves purchase merchandise drawn on your closed bank account.
Alternatively, just plain out check forgery by faking your ID and writing checks on your bank accounts. Internet ID theft called Phishing is where thefts send out emails, making out like they are legitimate companies requesting your contact or credit card information to send you a check.
They may also ask you to log in to an online account you use, sending you off to a fake website to capture your login information so they can access your accounts. These are just some of the ways people can steal your identity because there are plenty more.
Protect identity both online and offline
Here are some things you need to do. When you’re using the Internet, and you receive an email requesting you to update your information, never click through the links in an email. If you think it is a legitimate letter, surf to the site on the web and log in instead or call the online source and inquire about your email first to see if they did indeed send it to you.
Additionally, make sure, when you login in at any website, it is using the https: which is encrypted for your security, never log in at a URL using the only http. You can do more by remembering your passwords and login information never write it down for people to find. Clean out your cookies and computer cache daily to avoid it being used against you by hackers.
December is #IdentityTheftAwarenessMonth and we would like to remind you to #ThinkTwice before filling out that holiday sweepstakes entry form. You never know who might end up with your personal data!
Only enter sweepstakes from legitimate businesses and trusted brands. pic.twitter.com/BwjXtJeOvo
— WU Consumer Protection (@WUStopFraud) December 10, 2019
You can protect yourself more offline by; only use credit cards that have your picture on them, never use an ATM when someone is looking over your shoulder. Get your mail as soon as you can right after it’s delivered. If you’re going out of town, put a hold on your mail at the post office until you return home.
Avoid giving out personal information over the phone, such as bank accounts, social security numbers, etc. when an unknown caller or company requests it for any reason. Never leave personal items in your automobiles thieves are known to break in, and it’s an open invitation for Identity theft from happening to you.
Consider ordering a credit check every six months to see if something is on there that looks strange or for something you had not purchased. Think like a thief, what would I do to get someone’s information? Then make sure you take steps to stop it from happening to you. Read our awesome article on Work from home scams here.