Your personal information is very valuable to you. Unfortunately, it's also highly valued by thieves. If a consumer's personal data is stolen and used by another party, this is known as identity (ID) theft.
If someone is the victim of identity theft, the experience can ruin them financially. There are also several different forms that ID theft can take. So consumers should take many measures in order to protect themselves.
Various Types of Identity Theft to be On Guard Against
Most people are aware of the fact that identity thieves can open credit cards in their name and that their bank accounts can be hacked. However, there are other ways that criminals can get and use stolen information.
- Credit Card and Bank Account Fraud: It has become all too common for lawbreakers to lift data from others in order to gain access to credit cards and bank accounts. They may even open a new credit card in someone's name. This info can either be physically stolen or obtained through online hacking. Sometimes, individuals are targeted, but sophisticated hackers can also hit entire retail chains.
- Child Identity Theft: Young minors are easy targets for ID thieves because their credit reports are seldom checked. So, if a criminal is able to obtain a child's social security number (SSN), they can commit fraud that may not be detected for years.
- Tax ID Theft: Many SSN pirates use these stolen numbers to file false tax returns with the IRS. They will then collect the fraudulent refunds via check or direct deposit.
- Medical ID Theft: This crime involves someone taking another person's medical information and using it illegally. Types of data stolen may include Medicare info or health insurance member numbers. The thief will then use the information to either get medical services or to have services billed to the victim.
Unfortunately, these are just a few of the ways in which identity theft can happen. The average consumer has to be very careful about protecting their personal information, especially when they're online. Luckily, there are simple measures that anyone can take help ensure their safety.
How to Protect Yourself against Most Forms of ID Theft
It seems that identity thieves are always evolving and learning new and more advanced ways to steal information. But there are measures that every consumer can take to protect their personal data.
- Subscribe to an ID theft monitoring service. There are plenty of companies out there that offer this kind of service. So make sure that you're getting a decent rate and working with a reputable provider.
- Use online passwords that are difficult to guess. Ideally, you should be using random combinations of letters, numbers and symbols. Names of pets and children, birthdates and your favorite sports teams can easily be found on social media.
- Protect your SSN. Never carry your Social Security card in your purse or wallet. And only give your number out when absolutely necessary. For example, if an unsolicited offer requires your SSN, don't fill it out.
- Check your child's credit reports. Even if you expect to see nothing there, it's safer to be sure. Besides, even children are entitled to receive free copies of their reports every 12 months. So visit AnnualCreditReport.com to verify that your child's credit future is secure. You should also be checking your own credit reports.
- Guard your purse or wallet. First, you should only be carrying a small amount of personal info at any given time. Next, your purse or wallet should remain in your sight and closed when it is not in use.
Use caution when shopping online. Making an online purchase always requires a little bit of a gamble. But you can decrease the risk involved by only using sites that are known to be safe and secure.
Even cautious consumers can become victims of ID theft. So there is no such thing as being too careful when it comes to protecting your personal data.
Car Loan Assistance for Buyers in Tough Credit Situations
If your credit has been damaged as a result of ID theft or for any other reason, car loan approval is still possible. And if you need to finance a new or used vehicle, Auto Credit Express can help. Even if your credit is bad, we can match you with a local dealership that can work with tough credit situations.
Our service costs nothing and is obligation-free. So you can confidently fill out our simple and secure online auto loan request. Go ahead and get started today.