Identity theft involves deliberate use of somebody’s personal identifying documents such as credit card or identity numbers without asking for their authorization. This is mostly done to commit frauds such as obtaining credit and financial advantage illegally. The victims of identity theft suffer serious consequences as sometime they held accountable for any fraud committed. What most people wonder is how one can deal with this situation effectively. Below are the common types of identity thefts and some of the best means of preventing or even rectify them.
Financial identity theft
This involves the use of personal information illegally for financial gain. One of the ways how this is perpetrated is through sham access to the bank account and use of the credit cards. In all identity thefts reported, it is approximated that 15% were financial identity thefts.
Wage and tax-related identity theft
This is the most common type of fraud which accounts to at least 45% of all cases reported. The tax identity theft occurs when someone files a deceitful tax return using your name after stealing your identity. On the other hand, the wage-related scam happens when an identity thief collects your wages after earning them.
Medical identity theft
As the name suggests, this is when someone uses a falsified identity to access healthcare. Have you ever received a medical bill via your email and you don’t remember visiting a medical practitioner? Well, if so, you might be a victim of this fraud. Incorrect medical information may be filled in your checkup file after this occurrence.
Driver’s license identity fraud
Your driver’s license can be very useful to any criminal who wants to conceal his/her identity. They will steal your driver’s license identity and use your car inappropriately. Imagine if the vehicle gets wrecked and the criminal gets speeding tickets while claiming to be you; you will have serious insurance nightmare.
What to do after your identity has been stolen
When a fraudster steals your identity, you should not get scared; instead, this is what you are supposed to do.
Put deception alert on all your credit reports
A fraud alert will put a red flag on credit reports; it will notify lenders and creditors that extra steps are necessary for your identity’s verification before they extend the credit value. You should not worry since placing the first fraud alert is free and will be effective for up to three months; in fact, the fraud-alert services are offered freely to identity theft victims.
Another effective means of dealing with this fraud s through placing a security freeze on every account that you own. This will prevent any creditors excluding your regular business partners from gaining access to your credit report.
Get in touch with any directly affected institution
If your credit card was stolen, it is an excellent idea reporting this to the issuer of that card; alternatively, contact the bank if your debit card or checkbook is stolen. To be prepared in advance, write down any contacts and institution numbers to make reaching out for them a simple task.
File a police report
You will be required to contact the local law enforcers to complete an identity theft report. Ensure that you have gotten a report number or a report copy. This will come in handy when you are working with certain entities such as credit reporting agencies.
Safeguard your Social Security Number
There are numerous entities that you can contact for this purpose such as the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and Social Security Administration depending on your nationality. This should be done if you think that the fraudsters have compromised your social security number.
Protective measures to prevent an identity theft
There are several ways of protecting yourself from identity theft as follows.
• Lock your Social Security Number
• Be extra careful while dealing with mobile shopping and banking.
• Use unique and complex passwords and get used to changing them regularly
• Sign up for credit monitoring
• Be on lookout for phishing emails which most identity thieves use to gain the access to your email login details.
Identity theft has become rampant of late. It is therefore essential to follow the above guidelines to keep you at a safe position. Deal with any fraud case professionally without freaking out for the best results.
Patriot Privacy Kit