The Only Solution You Need to Protect Yourself from Criminal Identity Theft
Criminal identity theft is a serious crime that occurs when an unauthorized person uses another person’s personal information such as a Social Security number, name, or driver’s license number to commit crimes or evade law enforcement. Criminal identity theft can have devastating consequences for the victims. The victim may not even be aware identity theft has occurred until he or she is arrested, denied a job, or faces other legal problems because of someone else’s actions.
In this article, we will explain what criminal identity theft is, how it occurs, how to recognize the signs, and what to do if you become a victim. We will also share some preventive measures we can take to protect ourselves from this threat. Finally, we will introduce you to Legal Yogi, a company that can help victims find expert guidance and resources to deal with criminal identity theft and other legal issues.
Understanding Criminal Identity Theft
Criminals use stolen identities for various illegal activities, such as:
- Renting apartments, cars, or hotel rooms in another name
- Obtaining medical services or prescriptions in the victim’s name
- Giving a false name to the police during an arrest or investigation
- Opening bank accounts, credit cards, or loans in another person’s name
- Using someone else’s information to obtain government benefits, such as unemployment insurance, welfare, or Social Security
Criminals can obtain your personal information in many ways, such as:
Stealing a wallet, purse, mail, or trash
Hacking into online accounts or devices
Phishing for information through emails, texts, or phone calls
Creating or taking advantage of data breaches
Buying information from other criminals or data brokers
Skimming credit or debit card information at ATMs or gas pumps
The Impact of Criminal Identity Theft
Criminal identity theft can have serious and lasting consequences for the victims.We share some of the consequences in the next paragraphs.
When we become victims of identity theft, we may be liable for the debts and charges incurred by the identity thief. It may also be necessary to pay for legal fees and other expenses to prove our innocence and restore our credit.
We may face arrest, prosecution, fines, or imprisonment for crimes the identity thief committed in our names. This can also cause us difficulty obtaining a job, license, security clearance, or loan because of our criminal record.
We may suffer from stress, anxiety, fear, anger, or depression because of the fraud. It may also result in our losing trust in others and feeling violated and helpless.
How Criminal Identity Theft Occurs
Criminals use various methods and techniques to commit identity theft. Some of the most common We have identified some of the more common methods in the following paragraphs.
Criminals may rummage through dumpers, trash or recycling bins to find documents that contain personal information such as bank statements, utility bills, credit card offers, tax forms, and any other type of personal information. This is one of the oldest methods of collecting personal information. Before personal computers were so popular, criminals used to rummage dumpsters of businesses for computer printouts of employee records.
Mail theft involves stealing mail from a person’s mailbox or intercepting it before it reaches its destination. This can include checks, credit cards, account statements, tax refunds, etc.
Skimming is the process of using a device that reads and copies the information from the magnetic strip of a credit or debit card when a person swipes it at an ATM, gas pump, or point-of-sale terminal. The device can be attached to the original card reader or hidden inside it.
Phishing is another method criminals use to obtain personal information. This involves sending an email or text message that looks like it comes from a legitimate source, such as our bank, credit card company, a government agency, etc. The message may ask for verification of our account information, ask us to update our password, or confirm a transaction, etc. by clicking on a link or calling a phone number.
The link in the email may take you to a “mirror” website that looks like the real one. This mirror website is designed to capture the person’s personal information. The phone number may connect you to a fake representative who will ask you for your personal information.
Spoofing involves using a technology that allows the caller to display a fake number on our caller ID. The caller may pretend to be someone we trust, such as a family member, friend, co-worker, etc. and ask for personal information or money.
Data breaches seem to be occurring more often today and involve hacking into a database that stores personal information. This might include online retailers, health care providers, government agencies, or employers. The hacker may access, copy, or sell your information to other criminals or use it for their own purposes.
Recognizing the Signs of Criminal Identity Theft
Criminal identity theft can be hard to detect because we may not receive any alerts or notices from the institutions that are affected by the fraud. However, there are some signs that may indicate someone is using our identity for criminal purposes.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to act quickly to stop the fraud and remove any derogatory marks.
False criminal records or arrest warrants in our names
Bills or collection notices for accounts or services we did not open or use
Denials of credit, loans, or employment because of credit history or criminal record
Unexplained financial transactions and charges on our bank statements or credit reports
Notices from the IRS or other government agencies about unpaid taxes or benefits we did not apply for
9 Tips to Help Protect Yourself from Criminal Identity Theft
We need to review our Social Security earnings statements every year. We can get it online at ssa.gov/myaccount . If any income or employers are not ours, report it to the Social Security Administration .
Opt out of prescreened offers of credit and insurance by calling 1-888-567-8688 or visiting optoutprescreen.com . This will reduce the chances of someone stealing these offers from any mailboxes or trash.
Use a locking mailbox or a secure post office box for delivery of mail. For important mail such as new credit cards, checks, or other essential mail, track the delivery and notify the sender if it doesn’t arrive on time.
Be careful when using public Wi-Fi networks or computers. Do not access any personal or financial accounts on public networks or devices. Someone could intercept your data or install malware on your device. When it’s necessary to use a public network or device, make sure you use a VPN and log out of your accounts when you are finished.
Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for all online accounts whenever possible. 2FA adds an extra layer of security by requiring the user to enter a code sent to the phone or email after entering the password.
We need to be careful what we share on social media. We always need to limit the amount of personal information we share on social media platforms, such as our full name, date of birth, address, phone number, etc. We should also review our privacy settings and make sure only people we trust can see our posts and profile information. Criminals can use social media to gather information about us and use it for identity theft or phishing scams.
It is essential for us to create different passwords for each of our accounts. We need to use strong and unique passwords for each of our online accounts and devices. We also need to change our passwords regularly and avoid using common or easy-to-guess passwords. A password manager can help us create and store our passwords securely.
Shred documents containing personal information before disposing of them. We must make certain to shred any documents that contain our personal information, such as bank statements, utility bills, credit card offers, tax forms, etc. before throwing them away or recycling them. This will prevent criminals from dumpster diving and finding our information in the trash.
Collect mail daily. Mail theft is a common way for criminals to obtain our personal information. It’s essential for us to collect our mail as soon as possible after it is delivered, or use a locking mailbox or a secure post office box.
Preventive Measures Against Criminal Identity Theft
Although we cannot completely prevent criminal identity theft from happening, there are some steps we can take to reduce the risk and protect ourselves from this threat. The following measures will help reduce our potential for becoming victims of criminal identity theft.
We should safeguard our personal information and documents at all times. We should also use strong passwords and encryption for our online accounts and devices. We also want to avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments in emails or texts. Make it a habit to shred any documents that contain sensitive information before disposing of them.
Make sure to regularly check bank statements and credit reports for any unauthorized transactions or errors. Review your medical records and insurance statements for any fraudulent claims or services. Report any discrepancies or suspicious activities to the relevant institutions as soon as possible.
Learn more about criminal identity theft and how it works. Become educated about the latest scams and trends criminals use to steal identities. Be sure to share this information with your family and friends and warn them about the dangers of identity theft.
Steps to Take If You’re a Victim of Criminal Identity Theft
If you become a victim of criminal identity theft, there are some steps you need to perform as soon as possible. This may not cover everything, but it will help you begin the process of recovering your good name and reducing the amount of damage.
First, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at IdentityTheft.gov or call 1-877-438-4338. The FTC will help you create an identity theft report and a recovery plan. You can also get free credit monitoring and identity restoration services from the FTC.
Next, contact the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Ask them to place fraud alerts and a credit freeze on all your accounts. This will prevent criminals from opening new accounts in your name without your permission. You can also request that they block or remove fraudulent debts from your credit report.
You should also contact the fraud department at all credit card issuers, banks, and other places where you have accounts. Report the fraud and close any accounts that have been compromised or opened fraudulently. Ask for written confirmation of their actions.
Don’t forget to file a report with the police. Include a copy of the identity theft report and any evidence available to prove fraud. Be certain to get a copy of the police report for your records.
Additionally, contact any government agencies that are involved in the fraud. For example, if someone used your information to apply for unemployment benefits, contact the state unemployment agency. If someone used your information to file taxes, you need to contact the IRS. If someone used your information to get a driver’s license, you would contact the DMV.
Remember to keep a record of all your contacts and communications with these entities. It’s important for you to write down the names and phone numbers of the people with whom you spoke, the dates and times of the calls, and any reference numbers they gave you. Also, keep copies of all letters and emails you send or receive.
Please note that the steps provided are general guidelines, and it’s always recommended to consult with professionals or legal authorities for specific advice in case of criminal identity theft.
How Legal Yogi Protects Against Criminal Identity Theft
If I become a victim of criminal identity theft or need help with any other legal issue, it may make me feel overwhelmed and confused about what to do. That’s where Legal Yogi can help me Legal Yogi is a company that connects consumers with experienced and independent professionals who can provide expert guidance and resources on various legal matters.
Legal Yogi offers the following benefits to consumers:
Legal Yogi provides unbiased education and information on all services available to consumers. We can access free content generated by the professionals, including articles, videos, podcasts, and webinars, on various topics related to criminal identity theft and other legal issues.
They can connect me with professionals who offer free phone consultations on your specific issue. I can obtain four professional opinions, four estimated costs, and four lists of pros and cons of my situation. This allows me to compare and choose the best option for me without any obligation to hire anyone.
Legal Yogi bridges the gap between the professional and the consumer, putting more negotiating power in my hands. This allows me to benefit from the knowledge and experience of the professionals, while also having the freedom and flexibility to make my own decisions.
If you fall prey to Criminal Identity Thieves, the burden for clearing your name falls to you. You can choose to hire an attorney, to spend money and time trying to clear your name, or you can take advantage of an identity theft service and let experts guide you.
Legal Yogi provides online criminal identity theft services to help you get your identity back. No matter what you choose, you need to decide quickly. Start taking action right away. First, you need to contact your local police department immediately. Your second step is to contact the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is the national clearinghouse for all types of identity theft. You can reach them at 1-877-382-4357. Those are the two most important steps you can take to clear your name to begin with, but getting there will not be easy because there is no standard protocol for expunging an erroneous criminal record.
Legal Yogi: Your Trusted Partner in Dealing with Credit Card Identity Theft
Experiencing credit card identity theft can be overwhelming, and navigating the legal complexities involved can be daunting. That’s where Legal Yogi comes in: to provide you with expert guidance and support. Legal Yogi is a trusted platform that connects consumers with experienced legal professionals who specialize in dealing with credit card identity theft cases.