Signs That Your Identity Is Stolen
They say that every rose has a thorn. Given the technology available to us, cybercrime has reached an all-time high.
Identity thieves will go to great lengths to gain your personal information, including your Social Security number, financial institution account information, and credit card information.
Most identity theft victims are unaware they are victims until it is too late, and some may be unsure how to report the crime at all.
Look for these warning indicators to arrest a thief before getting out of hand.
You notice inaccuracies on your credit report.
Pro tip: Each year, request a free credit report from one of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion).
Experts advised that you use this feature every four months to look for suspicious components such as unfamiliar accounts or credit queries.
If you find an inaccuracy, notify the credit reporting agencies immediately. “Ask them to investigate and remove any erroneous information on your credit report,” says Identity Theft Alert author and Bentley University professor Steven J.J. Weisman. “This is crucial for future credit score protection.” If you want to protect your identity, these are the most essential items you never keep in your wallet.
If your wallet is stolen, losing these items is much more severe than losing a few bucks.
Keep your personal information secure.
Protecting your online and offline identities is essential in today’s world.
This involves selecting secure passwords for your online accounts and understanding what to retain in your wallet and leave at home.
Continue reading to learn what you should never have in your wallet.
Social Security Number
Keeping your Social Security card or number in your wallet is inappropriate. “In the hands of a thief, Social Security cards and the number itself are some of the most precious information,” says Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Centre.
“With it, they may simply file taxes in your name, request a loan, seek medical treatment, or even conduct crimes in your identity.”
If your wallet contains your Social Security number, report the theft immediately to the Social Security Administration.
Card for Health Insurance
Even if you don’t have your Social Security card, your SSN could be located on a Medicare card, an even more common form of theft.
Former Medicare numbers, valid till January 2020, are your Social Security number with one or two letters and digits added – not difficult to figure out.
Carry your card only when you have a doctor’s appointment to avoid giving away one of the most important numbers a hacker can obtain, says Adam Levin, founder of CyberScout, a global identity protection and data risk services firm and author of Swiped.
Make a Xerox copy of the card every other day, remove all except one or two numbers, and write an emergency contact’s [phone] number on the back. In this manner, emergency responders can still obtain the information they require.
A department store or bank receipt may appear to contain little information. On the other hand, a good burglar can use this expertise to steal your money more efficiently.
For example, someone who sees a string of receipts from midweek evenings at Target may purchase there on a Monday night without raising red flags with the credit card company.
Alternatively, your credit card company’s customer service department may be more inclined to believe a fraudster who is aware of all of your recent purchases.
If you click a link, a phisher may even send you an email impersonating your favourite restaurant and install malware on your computer.
Why have data that only reveals another piece of the puzzle if it ends up in the wrong hands? If I don’t need anything, I shred it rather than discard it.
Instead of keeping receipts in your wallet after each purchase, request an email copy or store printed receipts digitally with apps like Shoeboxed.
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