Identity theft – It occurs when someone steals your personal information and use it for personal or financial gains. They access your bank accounts, make purchases or even create criminal record on your name. Identity theft is also called as Identity fraud. It is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. In 2019, approximately 1 in 15 citizens were victims of identity theft.
How to find identity theft?
There are many varied signs to realize that your personal information is misused. Here are some important points for you to remember all the time.
- Unexpected change in credit score
- Bills stop coming to your mail box
- You start receiving collection notices
- Your family members start receiving credit card offers or debt/late payment calls
- Claims maid on your insurance benefits without your knowledge
- Financial transactions which you didn’t make will appear in your bank statements
- Police might knock your door and put you behind bars for the crime you didn’t commit
- Your job application is rejected post background check
Preventive Measures for Indentity theft
- Check your mailbox regularly and collect mails
- Shred documents before you throw them in trash
- Carry duplicate/photo copy cards of your identity. Keep original identity cards in a safe location
- Scan your computer regularly using anti-virus application
- Don’t click on links in emails from unknown persons or organization
- Keep your browser safe, clear history, cookies regularly
- Use strong passwords and never share with anyone
- Track your bank statements regularly. Report immediately if any unknown transaction appears
- Never share your private or personal information on social media. Don’t post your card or bill photos .
Best Preventive Measure
Always be diligent, be alert for identity theft warnings. Don’t take things casually. This helps you to safe guard from identity theft and it’s impact on your life.
Faces of identity theft
- Thieves can gain access to your information by stealing your purse
- Breaking into mail box
- Collecting documents from your trash can
- Ex – The flight boarding pass which we generally throw in trash after the journey contains lot of information when scanned.
- Private data can be stolen using internet. Phishing mails, social media surveys, fake offer posts.
- Criminals might create fake social media accounts on your name
New age identity theft – Synthetic
Criminals use your data in various forms. Synthetic identity theft occurs when criminal combines your personal information with fake details and create a completely new identity. Children and elders are main victims of this type of fraud. Elders don’t check their mails and financial transactions regularly. Kids tend to click on exciting colorful offers and links. They don’t have much information about the bad dark world around them.