What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is referred to as the use of your personal info such as name, security number, credit card number etc. without your permission. According to FTC, around 9 million Americans have their identity stolen each year.
How is Identity Stolen?
There are different ways to steal the identity of a person. These are as follows:
It is the snatching of purses, wallets, personal records, and mail etc.
· Dumpster Diving
It is the rummaging through garbage to find personal information on bills etc.
· Phone Calls
The use of false pretenses on phone calls to collect your personal information.
It is asking for your personal information so that your bank account can be accessed.
It is the use of a device to make a copy of your credit or debit card numbers.
· Changing your address
It is the diverting your mail in order to get your personal information.
What will or can happen if my identity is stolen?
Your identity can be used by thieves in a variety of ways. These are as follows:
1. Credit Cards
By using your own information, they can open a credit card account. They may make charges on your charge and don’t pay bills. If they do change the information or your billing address, you may not even come to know easily what has happened.
They can get utility services like telephone, gas, cable TV or gas etc. by using your personal information.
3. Bank Accounts
They can certainly open a bank account by the use of your information. The thieves can also reproduce your ATM card and withdraw money from it. in worst cases, they can even take a loan by using your info instead of their own.
4. Govt. Documents
A govt. document such as driving license can be issued along with putting their own picture on it which will never be good for you.
How to Find Out if My Identity Has Been Stolen?
Unfortunately, the damage was done before when most of the times people come to know about it. You should check statements regularly and obtain a credit report after a fixed period such as every month. It can certainly prevent your identity.
What to Do If My Identity Is Stolen?
Notify or tell your creditors as quickly as possible. You should also report to the police. Another way is to put a black flag on your credit report, it will alert creditors to take few actions rather than just opening the new account straight away.
How Can I Prevent Identity Theft?
You can prevent identity theft by educating yourself about the ways your identity can be stolen. Take actions and steps to make this impossible for thieves to steal your identity. Spread the awareness to your friends and family members to make this difficult for thieves to steal your as well as your family member’s identity. Be aware, be secured!