Identity theft transpires when a third party gets your personal information, such as social security number and credit card details and uses them for fraudulent purposes. According to the Federal Trade Commission, more or less 9 million Americans experience identity theft yearly. In 2010, an estimated $3.5 billion was spent by U.S. consumers for purchasing products that specialize in identity protection.
Identity theft is a serious offense that can mess up your reputation, credit history, and finances. Identity thieves can get loans under your name, or open other accounts using your personal information. Fixing the problem also takes time, effort, and patience, but it is not impossible.
Ways to Protect Yourself
More and more people resort to online banking and shopping, as it is more convenient. With all your personal information available on the web, there is a chance for your identity to be stolen. There are simple ways to prevent this from happening, and this doesn’t always mean that you have to spend a dime.
Make sure to delete your login and password information, especially when using a shared computer. Another way to prevent identity theft is to change your account passwords every so often. Check credit reports every quarter to make sure that you only pay for products and services that you purchased.
What To Do When Your Identity Has Been Stolen
Maybe it’s your unlucky day and you just found out that you’re a victim of identity theft. You must take immediate action in order to stop the problem from escalating. The first thing to do is report the crime by placing an Initial Fraud Alert. This can be done by calling the national credit reporting company. The next step is to get a copy of your credit report so that you can dispute any unauthorized activity. The last step is to make a report of the identity theft, which allows you to clear the activities of the identity thief on your accounts.
If you want to be extra careful with your online accounts and credit cards, it might be a good idea to pay for an identity theft service. This might cost you around a $150 annually, but it will make you feel at ease whenever you do activities online.
Tips For Protecting Your Identity
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