How to Avoid Identity Theft
Identity theft is becoming more common these days and we all need to be armed with the proper steps to keeping our identities secure. It’s no longer about locking file cabinets, or keeping all documents in a safe inside your closet. These new scams are phone calls from fake collection companies, data breaches of companies who have consumer information, and simple negligence of our of information. In this article we will cover how to protect your identity, the different types of identity theft, and what to do if you believe you are a victim of identity theft.
Protecting Your Identity
- Access your credit report at least once a year to determine if every credit line or inquiry was made by you.
- If you move update your address with USPS, the IRS, credit card companies, your bank, and any other financial institution.
- Never give out your social security number unless it absolutely necessary to validate your identity.
- Install virus and malware protection on your home computer.
- Use comprehensive passwords for all computers, tablets, websites, etc.
- Never throw away anything with your personal information on it. Use a shredder at home for mail, receipts, bank statements, etc.
- If you don’t plan on opening any new lines of credit contact each credit bureau to freeze your credit. If your credit is froze and someone tries to open a new line of credit you will be alerted.
- Open all mail in your name, and read over it carefully.
- If you can afford to do so look into purchasing a credit monitoring subscription.
Different Types of Identity Theft
- Child ID theft – Children’s IDs are often used because the theft may go undetected for many years. By the time they are adults they could of had credit cards, utilities, and cell phones in their name.
- Tax ID theft – A person uses your Social Security number to file tax returns with the IRS for a refund.
- Medical ID theft – This form of ID theft happens when someone steals your personal information, such as your Medicare ID or health insurance member number to get medical services, or to issue fraudulent billing to your health insurance provider.
- Senior ID theft – ID theft scams that target seniors because they are vulnerable. They often live alone, and can’t decipher scam phone calls from real phone calls. Caregivers and staff at long-term care facilities that have access to personal information or financial documents can also steal their identities.
- Social ID theft – They use your name, photos, and other personal information to create a phony account on social media.
If you are A Victim of Identity Theft
- Report it as soon as you find out by visiting www.identitytheft.gov
- Call the companies you know were used by the identity thief.
- Place a fraud alert on all 3 of your credit reports via phone, or their websites.
- Stay patient and diligent to gain your identity back.
SOS 1040 Plus, LLC