Could you be the victim of identity theft? You may not know it. Perhaps you lost your driver’s license a few months ago. During that time, someone else could have found it and used it to open a loan in your name. It could take several weeks or months to learn about the new loan. In that amount of time, the thief is long gone with whatever they purchased, and you’re left with the bill. Perhaps you don’t see this as happening to you. Yet, we’ve seen it happy to many people.
ID Theft Happens to Many
There are many ways and types of ID theft taking place throughout the country right now. There are dozens of data breaches you’ve heard about in the news. Companies like Capital One, T-Mobile, and even Facebook have had their data exposed within the last year or so. If you are a customer of any of these sites, it’s entirely possible that your data has also been exposed. In April 2018, Saks Fifth Avenue had a data breach. Perhaps you went to visit relatives over the holidays. You may not know that in November 2018, Marriott Starwood had a breach. These are just a handful of examples.
Identity theft happens in a wide range of ways, some you may not know about yet. Here are a few examples:
- Driver’s license theft is the most common form in which a person uses your stolen ID as a form of identification when purchasing items or gaining access to information.
- Your mail can be stolen, leading to a loss of information as far-reaching as your medical bills and health insurance to your mortgage loan.
- Debit card fraud and credit card fraud are also very common. Here, individuals use your accounts to make purchases that you did not approve of.
- Social Security number theft occurs when someone uses this tax ID number when applying for work or for identification itself. Sometimes, this can lead to tax problems that take years to clean up.
- Senior identity theft is very common and occurs when people steal the financial accounts of senior citizens to make purchases or for other risks.
There are many other instances, including account takeovers, child identity theft, and tax identity theft. In all of these cases, someone takes your personal information and uses it in some way to benefit themselves.
Worried? You Can Protect Your ID
Recognize these risks, work to be proactive. There are several things you can do right now to minimize the potential of losing your information. Here are a few steps to help you with right now.
Check Your Credit Report
Make sure there are no new accounts listed. Consider using credit monitoring services to help you learn about recent attempts to access your data.
Keep Your Data Safe
Shred – don’t just throw away – any financial documents. You also want to be sure your data is protected from easy theft, such as someone taking your purse or wallet. Avoid giving your personal information to those who have no need for it.
Freeze Credit Reports
If you’re not interested in a new loan right now, tell the credit bureaus to freeze your account information. Doing so can help to prevent anyone from opening a new account with your personal information.
Invest in ID Theft Insurance
Even with all of these risk prevention tools, we’ve seen countless instances of information be shared and lost. Identification theft insurance can help you pay for the cleanup efforts, including helping you to restore your ID after such an event. It doesn’t pay for what you’ve lost – but helps you to restore your need. Our team at Giuffre Insurance can help you to put in place a policy to protect your rights.