Since most of us regularly use the internet, we feel comfortable disclosing a lot of information. Hackers want us to become careless so they can steal our financial or personal information and use it against us. Identity theft can lower credit scores and cost people money. You can lessen the damage by being aware of the indications of identity theft and acting quickly.
What Causes Identity Theft?
Scams including phishing: Scams using phishing might take the form of mail, emails, or websites. They may involve an identity thief obtaining personal information while posing as a company you trust, such as your bank or insurance provider.
Data breaches: Many businesses, including your internet service provider and health care provider, hold your information. For instance, you might keep payment information for your preferred online store. If hackers target those businesses, your private data may be exposed or accessed.
Social Media: Criminals may snoop on your social media accounts to gather information such as your birthdate and address. These facts are frequently used as passwords by people.
Hacking tools: Viral or malicious software may be used by hackers to try and access your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Antivirus software can be helpful in this situation.
Simple theft: Not all identity thieves obtain your information using sophisticated techniques. Anyone can take your phone and view any personal information you have on it. They are simple to steal since many users save passwords to important accounts on their devices.
Dumpster diving: It is an instance of an outdated method of identity theft. If you discard documents containing sensitive information, thieves can find the data they’re looking for in your trash. Always shred documents before throwing them away.
Ways to Determine If Your Identity Has Been Stolen
Following some best practices, you can protect your data and guard against identity theft. Keeping an eye out for potential identity theft warning signals is one way to continue living your best online life. This ensures that you can respond quickly to lessen the consequences if you are the target. Here are some crucial warning indicators to watch out for.
You receive notification of an unauthorized credit card charge
You should be able to set up notifications to email, call, or text you about allegedly fraudulent credit card charges through your online banking login or app. If you receive an alert, your identity might have been stolen.
Your credit card or loan application was turned down
Investigate further if your application for a loan or line of credit is rejected. A denial could signify that your credit score is lower than you initially believed, possibly due to fraud. For instance, someone could obtain new credit cards using your information and fail to pay them off, leaving you liable.
The rating on your credit report has changed
Your credit score changing could be a sign of identity theft. Your credit score can suffer, for instance, if someone takes out utility bills in your name and doesn’t pay them. The issue can be found by looking at your credit report from the three major credit agencies.
There is a new account in your name that you didn’t open
Once hackers have enough information, including your name and address, they may be able to apply for new credit cards and bank accounts. Look for new accounts you didn’t open when examining your credit report. If you start receiving bills or bank statements addressed to you for accounts, you don’t know; that is another warning sign.
Your data was exposed in a data breach
Businesses must notify customers of data breaches that may affect them. Identity thieves might obtain your data, for instance, if you save your home address and payment details on a music streaming service’s website and their database is breached.
Debt collectors contact you regarding unopened accounts
Be wary if debt collectors begin to call, especially if they mention accounts you aren’t familiar with. If a collection agency calls, don’t give them personal information because it can be a phishing scam. To follow up on these instances, checking your credit record for any new accounts is a good idea.
You are given invoices for medical treatments that you did not use
When a fraudster poses as another individual to obtain medical attention or supplies, it is called medical theft. Inaccurate medical records may raise your insurance rates or make it more difficult for you to receive the future care you require.
Your residence is given as the mail address bearing another person’s name
This can be a sign of manufactured identity theft. This happens when a fraudster uses numerous people’s true information to construct a false identity. To build a fake creditworthy persona, they might, for instance, use your address, Social Security number, and the photograph of another individual. Then they can apply for credit cards in that fictitious person’s name.
Without your awareness, a tax return is submitted in your name
Keep this in mind if you get a confirmation of an annual tax filing before you submit it. Criminals could attempt to file a tax return on behalf of someone else to obtain their tax refund.
What To Do If You Suspect That Someone Has Stolen Your Identity
- Nobody wants their identity stolen, but it’s still a good idea to be ready if it does. Here are some actions you might need to do if you observe the aforementioned red flags:
- Change the login information and password for all impacted accounts.
- Freeze accounts with banks or credit card firms that exhibit any questionable activity, including debit and credit cards.
- If you haven’t already, check your credit reports, and report any suspected fraud to the appropriate credit bureau.
- For lost or stolen credit cards, driver’s licenses, and other items, contact your local law enforcement and make a police report.
- In the event of tax-related fraud, notify the IRS fraud alert division.
- Inform the appropriate government body of any fraudulent behavior involving Social Security.
- Freeze the information on your credit report. This prevents access to it so that credit can be extended, guaranteeing that no one can open additional credit lines in your name.
- Additionally, you might wish to go to IdentityTheft.gov to file a report and locate resources to direct your recovery strategy.
Bonus Tip: Your Credentials in a Digital Vault: An Advanced Identity Protector
Advanced Identity Protector’s digital safe protects passwords and other private information from identity thieves. This software aids consumers in avoiding and securing users from identity theft. Some of the things this software can assist you with are listed below:
Sensitive information must be protected. Email addresses, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and usernames all fall under the category of sensitive information. Your PC, which has been taken and protected, contains this and other information in many places.
A private and protected digital safe. Advanced Identity Protector saves all personal information in a virtual safe on your computer. This information is kept On Your PC only, not online or on a server.
Eliminate all traces of personal data. This program helps users remove identity traces from popular browsers like Chrome, Edge, and Opera by shifting the identity traces to a safe digital vault.
The Final Word On Ways to Determine If Your Identity Has Been Stolen
I hope you know how dangerous identity theft can be, especially when your credentials are compromised. You can always use Advance Identity Protector to lock your credentials in a secure digital vault that can only be operated by you using a master password that is not stored anywhere on your PC.
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