It may seem that the topic of identity theft may not be as relevant today as it was back in days. Still, thousands of users worldwide become a victim of identity theft in one form or another. Many people give access to their personal info without knowing it or suffer from hackers attacks.
At the same time, we suggest checking various professional takes on existing identity protection services, for instance, Zander review. It is also important to know how to fill out a report for your local police department in case your identity was stolen. We hope this information will help you to avoid such an unpleasant situation.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is defined as unauthorized usage of your credentials and personal information without your permission. It can be used for committing financial fraud or sold to third parties.
There are several ways how your identity can be stolen:
- It can be stolen with the usage of specially designed malware that harvests users’ credentials or can be deceived to provide it yourself via phishing websites and software.
- Data breaches can result in your data being exposed and compromised. Usually it may happen to companies that have your information.
- Unsecured browsing can be the reason for hackers gaining access to your computer and information stealth without your notice. It includes but not limited to: spam emails, WiFi hacks.
- Mobile phone or wallet theft is one of the most common ways of criminals to have personal information at their disposal.
How to Tell If My Identity Was Stolen?
The most obvious indication that your identity was misused is loan denials and collector agencies calls. It is the most problematic aspect of identity theft as it requires a tiresome and time-consuming process of proving that you have nothing to do with a bank or medical insurance fraud.
The second indication is unauthorized bank transactions or withdrawals via your credit card or bank account. You can easily prevent further problems and loss of money by regular updates on your credit card or bank account history.
Thirdly, you get suspicious medical bills or explanations from companies or health care providers that you didn’t initiate. Do not overlook it and consult with the company to clarify the situation.
Any instance, when you are not sure you requested the transaction or subscribed for a health care service is an alarming sign that someone obtained access to your account. Do not hesitate and start acting.
What to Do to Avoid Identity Theft?
Your own cautiousness and attentiveness to your bills and loans is the best step to prevent unauthorized access to your information. As soon as you notice something unusual, you may start the investigation before it is too late. However, here are some pro tips for securing your identity offline and online:
- Be very attentive and never share your personal information via unsecured messengers or to someone you don’t trust.
- Attentively check your email and physical mail, as it may have important information that can be stolen either online or offline.
- Be very cautious of your bills and billing cycles, if financial statements or bills do not reach you, contact the sender immediately.
- Always use an AV solution installed on your computer, use a VPN and firewall when connecting to the public WiFi network, and pay attention to your online security.
- Set a fraud alarm and find the most convenient identity theft service for you, secure lost wallets, and prevent unwanted fraud attempts on your behalf.
- Never leave receipts, account statements, or expired credit cards and dispose of them properly. Even though many frauds are made online, criminals still use offline methods to deceive you and steal your information.
- Use identity protection services’ option of a credit freeze as it will prevent criminals from getting a credit on your name.
What If Identity Theft Already Happened?
The Federal Trade Commission offers the following steps for someone who was a victim of identity theft. Here we list some tips in case the crime was already committed.
- Notify the companies where fraud has occurred that your identity was stolen, and you need the accounts to be closed or frozen. Change all logins, passwords, and pins for your account.
- Get familiar with Identity Protection products and set fraud alerts for preventing future attempts to utilize your credentials for fraud. You will receive a notification if someone tries to open an account or make a loan on your behalf.
- Fill an Identity Theft Report and recovery plan for the Federal Trade Commission as well as a police report.
For more information, you can visit The Federal Trade Commission webpage and get familiar with the suggested steps.