Identity theft is the fastest-growing in the US. Each year, over ten million Americans become victims of identity theft, yet most of us don’t know what or who these thieves target, neither do we know how to protect ourselves. Hence, implementing the proper steps to prevent identity theft is a huge concern. Identity thieves aim to steal names and addresses, bank account information, personal identification numbers like social security, driver’s license, credit card, and other personal information. With so many fraud cases taking place, it’s no wonder why an increasing number of people are looking for information on how to stop identity theft and how to recover from the loss once you have been victimized.
If you want to prevent identity theft in the USA, you must keep yourself informed, and Legal Yogi can help. We can provide you with all the information you could possibly need to learn how to avoid identity theft and protect your financial stability.
What Identity Thieves Do with Your Information
As far as finances are concerned, identity thieves can literally impersonate you to the extent that they actually become “you.” Some identity thieves can be called financial joy riders who steal a car and then just enjoy its benefits. They often go on spending sprees, obtain new credit from the bank, get cell phone accounts, or even open bank accounts, and start writing checks. They want to get their hands on as many things as possible in the shortest time. The other kind of identity thieves is more sophisticated. They are plan for the long term. They can apply for driver’s licenses, open bank accounts, get loans, or even declare bankruptcy. We all want to stop identity theft once and for all. This can affect every facet of your life when in the hands of the wrong person, and identity theft prevention is essential to ensure this does not happen to you.
Easy Things You Can Do to Prevent Identity Theft
- Keep things like debit cards, passports, credit cards, social security cards, or your checkbook with you ONLY when you need them.
- Be careful with PIN numbers and passwords. Unfortunately, thieves are often someone you know, and you make it easy for them to steal from you if you use your dog’s name, your child’s birthday, or something similar to your PIN or password.
- Shred any paper with your account numbers on it.
- Request to be removed from the public directories like whitepages.com or Information America.
- Secure your information by installing a firewall on your computer
- Don’t email confidential information over the internet.
- Keep track of your credit score, and immediately report unauthorized activity.
- Prevent identity theft online by ensuring the security seal is there, and the URL begins with https.
How to Recover from Identity Theft
If you suspect an identity thief is victimizing you, take these steps immediately:
- Review your credit report
- Inform all 3 major credit reporting agencies about the fraud and ask that a fraud alert (which will prevent any new credit from being issued without your approval) be issued for your account.
- Do your research. Get in touch with every company, which you believe you might have been victimized and explain to the fraud department what has happened.
- Report the theft. Contact your local police or the police in the area the crime took place and speak with someone in the fraud department. Be sure to get a copy of any police reports because you are likely to need them later.
- Get everything in writing. Take notes that include the names and positions of anyone you speak with. Be meticulous. Your financial future is at stake. Keep track of how much time you spend and any time missed from work as a result of this crime. If the perpetrators are caught, you can be reimbursed for all of this.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission: 1-877-382-4357 (The FTC is the federal clearinghouse for victims of identity theft).
If you are in search of prevent identity theft services, Legal Yogi is perfect for you. With our help, you can stop identity theft before it begins by becoming a member of an identity protection group. When your financial future is at stake, you must act quickly before it gets too late.
Identity Theft Protection
With so many cases of identity theft and credit card scams in today’s society, it is essential for consumers to keep a close eye on their financial instruments such as debt cards and credit cards. Identity theft protection is key to protecting your identity. Since most consumers are not fully versed in all the tricks identity fraud perpetrators use, it is a good idea to invest in a protection plan. The servicing company monitors your credit for signs of unusual activity. They will monitor all accounts that have been opened in your name. With so much identity fraud occurring today, it’s next to impossible for an individual to be on top of everything.
“Things You Can Do to Prevent Identity Theft”
According to U.S. News (https://www.usnews.com/360-reviews/privacy/identity-theft-protection/10-ways-to-prevent-identity-theft), there are 10 things a consumer can to prevent identity theft.
- Lock your credit file.
- Pick up your mail every day
- Routinely monitor credit card and bank statements
- Shred any papers that have personal information on them before throwing them away
- Ensure all accounts have different passwords
- Obtain annual copies of your credit reports for review
- Always have current and up to date antivirus software
- Activate two-factor authentication whenever available
- Do a factory reset on all electronics before donating or selling
- Decline to participate in any and all prescreened and preapproved credit card offers
While nothing is perfect, you can reduce your chances of being a victim of identity theft by taking the initiative in your own identity protection. A monitoring plan is a good investment, but you have to take steps also.
What Identity Thieves Do with Your Information
There are a variety of methods identity thieves use to steal a person’s identity. We have listed some of was consumers become victims of stolen identity.
ATO is a form of identity theft whereby a thief takes over a legitimate account. They can accomplish this by changing the address on the account or obtaining access to the customer’s online account and sending funds to their own account. This type of identity theft can happen when a company’s data has suffered a breach as has frequently occurred. Unfortunately, breaches do not occur in small numbers but usually affect hundreds, or even thousands, of accounts.
The use of phishing emails is another method that allows thieves to access account information. They will include a link in an email that looks perfectly legitimate, and when the recipient clicks on the link, it asks for the login information as if it was the legitimate website. In reality, it is a mirror site, and when the customer logs in, the thief has access to the account.
The prevalence of point of sale machines has also increased the numbers of fraud cases. Thieves plant a device inside the POS machine, and when the customer uses it for a legitimate sale, the device captures the information and allows the thief to make a duplicate copy of the card right down to the information in a CHIP card. This writer actually was a victim of this type of fraud, and the bank even tried to argue with me that because the CHIP was used, I must had used the card myself. I had to point out overlapping charges where more than one transaction occurred during overlapping times and on different sides of the country.
Identity thieves have also called card issuers and changed the address on the account, so a card goes to their address. They may also report the card lost and have a replacement card mailed to their address.
The scariest type of identity fraud was possible when the records of Experian were breached. The thieves had access to the credit files of thousands of consumers which meant they could apply for credit, use the information to get a job, collect retirement benefits, and even steal the consumer’s tax refund
If they have access to your mailbox, they can steal any debit or credit cards and use them before you notice them missing. This was a huge problem when card issuers were mailing pre-approved cards because the consumer never knew to expect the card. The only way they found out was when the statement came in (if the address wasn’t changed) or by viewing their credit report. Today the thief is still able to access a pre-approved card—he has only to have access to the original information and either change the address for mailing or look for the card to arrive—an easy task if the consumer doesn’t check the mailbox regularly.