Recently, I read about identity theft. But what exactly is identity theft?
Identity theft or ID theft is when someone steals your personal or financial information and uses it to commit fraud, in your name.
What kind or fraud? Why is identity theft so bad?
ID theft can have a huge financial impact, since the stolen information can be used to apply for credit cards, withdraw money from your bank accounts, take out loans or make unauthorized purchases using your existing bank accounts or credit cards. Identity theft can also result in a damage to your credit score, and it could cost a great deal of time and money to restore your good credit.
How do I know if I am a victim of identity theft?
If you regularly review your credit report, you can spot signs of identity theft early on by looking for new accounts that have not been opened by you, and other unusual financial activity. You are also probably a victim of ID theft if you receive bills for things you didn’t buy, start getting debt collection calls for accounts you didn’t open or there is a sudden drop in your credit score.
How can I prevent identity theft?
The best way to prevent ID theft is by keeping your identity and financial information out of reach of others. This includes not sharing your social security number and other personal information like your birth date, and safely shredding old receipts, account statements, credit cards, etc.
You should also keep your online activity protected by using secure internet connection and keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date.
But if I still become a victim of ID theft what should I do?
That’s an excellent question, Sooper Cooper, but that’s a topic for another time…