You would think with all of the attention on the news out there about hacking, data breaches, and identity theft, that people would be very focused on privacy and protecting their information from the bad guys.
We all have a lot going on, and identity thieves know this. Always watching, these guys are betting on us being too focused with our day to day lives to notice who we are ultimately sharing our important information with. They literally are waiting for us to make one wrong move.
Are You a Victim of Identity Theft?
The shocking truth is that most of the people who become victims of identity theft don’t even realize it. You could be a victim right now and be none the wiser.
Why? Because generally, a person doesn’t know if they are a victim until they get a notification from their bank or other financial institution Each year, there are more than 16 million people who have their identity stolen.
How is it possible to share your information so easily? Well, there are a couple of ways to do it. For instance, you might have gotten married, you may give away too much information on your social media accounts, or you might have replied to a fake email, phone call, or text.
On top of this, a major life event can put you at a higher risk of becoming a victim, such as getting a new job or having a baby.
How Dangerous is Identity Theft?
Most of us consider identity theft to just be something like credit card fraud, but it is a lot more than that. Though this is common, an identity thief can do a lot more than simply open up a credit card in your name. They can also:
- Open up a bank account and make changes to your billing address, meaning you would have no idea.
- Taking out a big loan, such as an auto loan or mortgage, and not paying it off.
- File a fake tax return, and then taking the money that comes from it.
If you are a victim of identity theft, you might be dealing with it for a number of years to come, and it is a big struggle to clear your name and fix your credit score.
How to Protect Yourself
Thankfully, there are a number of ways that you can protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft. Some of them include:
- Don’t give your Social Security Number out unless it is totally necessary
- Don’t allow mail to sit around
- Don’t respond to any requests for information that seems suspicious
- Don’t create simple passwords for online accounts
Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.