Have you ever been a victim of identity theft? It can leave you feeling violated and cause serious havoc in your life. According to Life Lock, nearly 60 million people have been the victim of identity theft at some point in their lives. The two most common types of identity theft include credit card fraud and employment or tax related fraud. The most vulnerable populations for identity theft are seniors and children. With tax season right around the corner, it is important that you are vigilant and proactive in keeping your personal information secure.
Identity theft can happen to anyone. However, if you take proper steps to keep your information safe, you minimize the risks of becoming a victim. Always check your banking information, do not overshare on social media, check your privacy setting on social media sites, do not share sensitive information via email or unsecured messaging applications, never share your social security number or credit card information with anyone, and be aware of your surroundings when sharing personal information in public.
Furthermore, never travel with your passport or social security card if you don’t have to, place personal information in a secure location in your home (i.e safe), and never write down your PIN number or password to personal accounts, and monitor your credit report annually for suspicious activity. Today, many credit cards offer free alerts to changes in your credit report, take advantage of this useful tool.
If you suspect that you have been a victim of fraud, you should:
- Immediately call companies where suspected fraud has occurred. Ask for your account(s) to be closed or place a freeze on the account.
- Change all passwords, logins, and PIN numbers to your account(s).
- Contact one of the three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax to place a fraud alert.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report to review and verify that the information reported in your credit report is accurate.
To obtain a free copy of your credit report, visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
Life Lock. (2018, April 13). How common is identity theft? https://www.lifelock.com/learn-identity-theft-resources-how-common-is-identity-theft.html
Long, E. (2018, August 20). 6 common habits that put you at risk for identity theft. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/better/business/6-common-habits-put-you-risk-identity-theft-ncna899251