Things You Should Know About Identity Theft
Identity theft is a growing problem today. Not only is there a direct financial impact that come from this, but it can also prove to be very disruptive to the lives of the victims. From employers to utility companies, more and more companies are reviewing credit histories to make determinations regarding your character and trustworthiness. If there is inaccurate data on your credit report directly related to identity theft, then you could be creating a situation in which you will struggle to keep your name and reputation clean.
The repercussions of identity theft can be long lasting, and in many cases, is something that can be avoidable. Unfortunately, it isn’t always preventable, and some people will just have to deal with the unfortunate event. Luckily, there are some things you can do either before or after identity theft occurs to help mitigate both the risks and the impact of identity theft.
Check your credit report frequently.
The best thing you can do to stay on top of identity theft is to frequently and periodically checking your credit report. This will show if inquiries or new accounts are being opened. This is your best and first line of defense in the defense of your identity. Often time, identity thieves will probe people to see if they can open small account unnoticed. By staying vigilant with pulling and reviewing your credit file, you can ensure the accuracy of your report.
Take steps to safeguard your information.
This should go without saying, but getting smarter about your information will help prevent a lot of identity theft from happening in the first place. The first thing to remember is that anything you put online can potentially be used by someone for nefarious purposes. The more information you put out there, the higher the risk that you will become a victim of identity fraud. Be sure that when surfing the internet, or entering personal information into a website, that you use secure sites, as well as virus and anti-phishing software.
There are different types of identity theft.
Another thing to know about identity theft is that there are different versions. The most common type is financial identification theft. This is where someone will attempt to use your name and social security number to apply for credit to be used for their own purposes. A second type is criminal identity theft. This is where thieves will use your information to conduct criminal activity as a cover for their actions in case they get caught. In this case, you may never know this is happening until much later. The last type is something called cloning. Cloning essentially attempts to create a new identity under your name and social security to create a new life, not just apply for credit. Ultimately, this leads to credit requests, but it is much more involved than that.
What to do after you’ve been victimized.
Finally, if you have been victimized, the first very first thing you need to do is contact the authorities and all three credit reports. In addition, if you are aware of any accounts that have been opened, then you must contact those companies immediately.