5 things you need to know about identity theft
Mar 23, · Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases. Review your credit reports Credit Report: a report that shows your bill payment history, current debt, and other financial information. once a . Place a Fraud Alert. A fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. You can place a fraud alert by asking one of the three credit bureaus. It has to put the alert on your credit report and tell the other two credit bureaus to do so. The alert lasts one year.
What is needed for identity theft ID theft may go undetected for many years. Seniors often share their personal information with doctors and caregivers.
The number of people and offices that access seniors' information put them at risk. Read about how you can prevent how to play naive on acoustic guitar theft. If you report identity theft to the FTC online, you will receive an identity theft report and a recovery plan.
Create an account on the website to:. If you don't create an account, you won't be able to access the report or letters later. Download the FTC's publication for detailed tips, checklists, and sample letters. If you report identity theft by phone, the FTC will collect the details of your situation.
But it won't give you an ID theft report or recovery plan. You may choose to report your identity theft to your local police station. It could be necessary if:. Credit Reporting Agencies - Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place fraud alerts or freezes on your accounts.
Also get copies of your credit reports, to be sure that no one has already tried to get unauthorized credit accounts with your personal information. Confirm that the credit reporting agency will alert the other two credit reporting agencies. National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center - Report cases of identity theft due to a stay in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
Financial Institutions - Contact the fraud department at your bank, credit card issuers and any other places where you have accounts. Retailers and Other Companies - Report the crime to companies where the identity thief opened credit accounts or even applied for jobs.
State Attorney General Offices - Your state's attorney general might offer tips, checklists, or an advocate to help you recover from identity theft. You may need to get new personal records or identification cards if you're the victim of ID theft.
Learn how to replace your vital identification documents after identity theft. Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it. Share This Page:. Do you have a question? Talk to a live USA.
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Identity theft is a serious crime. Identity theft happens when someone uses information about you without your permission. They could use your: name and address. credit card or bank account numbers. Social Security number. medical insurance account numbers. Credit card fraud.
With the Internet, modern society is connected now more than ever. While this interconnectedness may make some things easier, less savory things, such as identity theft, seem to have become easier as well. Knowing how identity theft happens could help you better understand what information you need to help protect yourself. Dumpster diving: Criminals may go through your garbage or your recycling looking for bank statements, credit card offers, and other papers that could allow them to apply for accounts in your name.
Robbery: If you experience a break-in at home or if you are mugged, thieves may be less interested in stealing physical goods and more interested in obtaining personal documents such as birth certificates and Social Security cards, which they could use to steal your identity or sell for a pretty price on the dark web. Phishing: Scammers may be able to steal private information electronically by sending unsolicited emails that contain software that searches computers and other devices for personal and financial data.
Phone scams: Criminals may simply call people on the phone and pretend to be an established organization, such as the IRS or a bank, in order to convince individuals to give up their personal and financial information over the phone. Data dumps: Sophisticated hackers can rifle through the private customer data of retail stores, medical facilities, and credit card companies in order to access credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and other identifying information.
Oversharing or not making your social media accounts private enough may leave you vulnerable to identity theft. Just by looking through your social media accounts, a hacker may be able to identify your full name, home address, birthdate, and phone number. Along with your social media accounts, the digital footprints you leave behind while online can be very risky in terms of identity theft. For example, logging on to public and unprotected Wi-Fi can leave you vulnerable to hackers, who could then use the Internet connection to glean all kinds of private information from your laptop, tablet, or phone.
If you do use a public Wi-Fi connection, be careful about what information you send and receive. You should also check the web address and make sure that the name in the address bar matches the name of the establishment offering the service. The elderly are also targets for scammers as they may be vulnerable and may trust others with their information easily. Because these individuals grew up without the Internet, they may not understand what they need to do to help protect their online identity.
Identity theft can happen to anyone, but by staying aware and protective of your personal information, you can help reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
One important thing you can do is destroy personal documents that you no longer need, such as bank statements and credit card statements, by shredding them before disposing of them. When it comes to your online accounts, carefully screen what you share and remove identifying information such as geo tags from photos.
You should also make sure all your online passwords are unique and hard to crack —using a mix of symbols, capital letters, and numbers to make it difficult for hackers to guess them and access your accounts. You should also monitor all of your financial accounts weekly and report any discrepancies immediately.
Even if you are very careful, criminals may still be able to access your information and steal your identity through data breaches. With the recent Equifax data breach , over million people now have the potential to become victims of identity theft. Adding an extra layer of protection to your digital life by using an identity theft protection service could prove very useful.
Such services can help protect your personal information by sending you alerts if suspicious activity is identified within their network, or if new accounts are opened with your Social Security number. LifeLock is one such comprehensive service. While technology constantly adapts to new threats, hackers and scammers adapt too, which makes helping protect against identity theft a challenge.
Playing offense against hackers by helping to protect your personal information online is important, but to fully safeguard your identity, you need some defense as well. You could also use security software on your devices, such as Norton Security , to shield your computer and devices from malware and viruses and to help protect your personal information from cybercriminals. Identity theft occurs offline too. These are just a few of the precautions one can take to help protect against identity theft.
Keeping yourself aware of all the threats that can affect you is the first step towards a digitally safe life. Disclaimers and references: No one can prevent all identity theft. All rights reserved. Firefox is a trademark of Mozilla Foundation. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Alexa and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon. Microsoft and the Window logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U. The Android robot is reproduced or modified from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.
Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. Internet Security Center. Free Trials. ID Theft. Security Center ID Theft 5 things you need to know about identity theft. Written by a NortonLifeLock employee. How thieves could get your personal and financial information Identity thieves could access your information in a myriad of ways, such as: Dumpster diving: Criminals may go through your garbage or your recycling looking for bank statements, credit card offers, and other papers that could allow them to apply for accounts in your name.
Your online presence could hurt you Oversharing or not making your social media accounts private enough may leave you vulnerable to identity theft. How to help protect against becoming a victim Identity theft can happen to anyone, but by staying aware and protective of your personal information, you can help reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
Identity theft and data breaches Even if you are very careful, criminals may still be able to access your information and steal your identity through data breaches. Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.
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