What is identity theft? In today's current culture, it is necessary to know what it is and how to avoid it. Protecting yourself from identity theft takes a conscious effort to know what is happening with your money and name and ensuring that you avoid situations where your information is at risk. So, what can you do to protect from identity theft situations? Learn about it, how to spot it and how to avoid it.
What Is Identify Theft
According to the Federal Trade Commission, about 9 million Americans learn their identity has been stolen each year. Many people know someone who has this problem. In short, the event occurs when someone uses your personal information in some way without your permission, generally to commit fraud, though it can also be to commit a variety of other crimes. This information may include your name, your credit card number or your Social Security number, or a combination of any factors. With your information being lost, individuals can make purchases or create an entire life for themselves using your information. You could be liable for those transactions.
How to Spot Identity Theft
Credit card identity theft is one method of it. It is up to you to take steps to protect yourself from this threat. To learn how to identity theft, consider the following.
- Read your credit card statements each month. Be sure to learn if there are any transactions that you did not make. Report them to your credit card issuer.
- Get a copy of your credit report. You can obtain one copy per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Spread this out so you get a copy from one every four months. Look for accounts that are not your own.
- Credit card fraud is not the only problem. Be sure that you look at your mail and answer your phone. If anyone tries to send something to another mailing address, stop this from happening.
These are just some of the ways you can protect yourself from identity theft. However, it is critical for you to always be vigilant.
Avoiding Identity Theft
Identity theft protection should be something you think about often. Here are some tips to protect yourself from this threat.
- To avoid credit card fraud, avoid handing over your credit card to anyone else. Rather, swipe it yourself whenever possible.
- Avoid giving your Social Security number to anyone. Most other information, like your address, is easier to obtain.
- Consider investing in identity theft protection if you have reason to believe that this is a real threat to you.
Protecting yourself from identity theft is something you should do since there is no doubt it could happen to anyone. In fact, the credit bureaus indicate that as many as 80 percent of all credit reports have errors on them. Some could indicate identity theft.