There are 5 types of Identity Theft:
1. Financial. This is where thieves use your identity to open new accounts in your name.
2. Medical. Your social security number is used to obtain medical services. Not only is this dangerous for you, but you may have this affect your credit in a negative way due to unpaid Emergency Services Bills that show up on your credit report.
3. Employment. Illegal Aliens are stealing other peoples Identities for employment. Another downside to this is the Tax Liability that you face by the IRS and State Tax Board for wages that they assume you have earned!4. Drivers Licenses. Once again people that do not qualify for license or that have lost their Drivers License due to illegal activity may steal your identity to obtain a Drivers License! It doesn’t even have to be in the State that you reside in.
5. Character Theft. Your Identity was used to commit a crime! A criminal used your name and now the law is after you! think of the implications and the cost and mental duress in trying to clear your good name!
How do you protect yourself?
- DO NOT EVER as a habit carry your Social Security Card around with you!
- Avoid giving personal information over the phone until you verify that the person on the other end of the phone is who they say they are.
- If you are on a wireless server make sure that your Laptop or Smart Phone is on a secured network and has the proper firewalls.
- Make sure that any online site that you visit has Https encryption.
- Check your Credit Accounts EVERY month as well as your bank statement.
- Any addresses being reported on your Credit Report that you do not know may indicate that your Identity is being used by someone else!
- You can sign up with a credit monitoring service such as Free Credit Report.com or Annual Credit Report.com as a consumer and check your credit on a daily basis without it counting as an inquire.
- SHRED SHRED SHRED! Any documents or unnecessary paperwork that you do not need to keep for legal, tax or proof or receipt Shred! Never store ANY documentation with your personal information in an unsecured location.
What to do if you are a victim?
- Fill out the FTC Identity Theft Form and have the Affidavit notarized
- Make a Police Report
- Send in the information to the 3 Credit Bureaus
- Ask the Bureaus to put a “Freeze” on opening any new account
Please be careful as everyone is potentially at Risk! The Holiday Season is the worst time of the year, so please be aware at all time.