While spending your hard-earned cash is one way identity thieves can leave you in bad shape, they can also ruin your credit score, making it difficult to apply for future loans, credit cards, and more. Identity theft may also make it difficult to apply for a passport or job, and, even scarier, could lead to false imprisonment by way of using a stolen name when getting booked.
In this day and age, there are multiple ways for identity thieves to get their hands on your personal information.
Phone & E-mail: Identity thieves may call or write claiming to be your financial institution, doctor’s office, the IRS, or another organization you trust, and may be pretty convincing. Typically, they claim that they’re calling simply to update or verify sensitive information that your real institution already has, and may threaten to take some kind of legal action if you don’t make an immediate payment on some bogus debt.
The Garbage Bin: Identity thieves aren’t afraid to get down and dirty. Unlike harmless dumpster divers, thieves are on the lookout for anything with your name and an address attached. An old pay stub, a discarded credit card offer, an outdated letter - if it’s still intact, a thief can use it.
In Public: Identity thieves can easily obtain PINs, passwords, and more, simply by watching over your shoulder as you enter them, or listening in on a phone call you’re having in public. Skimming devices and other methods of hacking systems are also threats.
Be Aware: Take note of your surroundings when entering or voicing PINs, passwords, and social security numbers.
Monitor Accounts: Frequently review financial statements and accounts, and check your credit report annually, so you can catch any unauthorized or suspicious charges or activity.
Trust Your Instincts: Exit out of any fishy e-mails and hang up on any questionable phone calls.
Update Passwords: Change your passwords frequently, making sure they’re creative and varied. Incorporate upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Stay in Touch: Let your financial institution know if you’re heading out of state so they can mark your account.
Go Paperless: Opt to receive statements online instead of having them sent through postal mail.
Report Lost Plastic: Immediately cancel any lost credit cards, debit cards, checks, or ID cards, and have them re-issued.
Shred Away: Thoroughly destroy any and all documents containing your name and information.
Take immediate action. Contact your financial institution, file a police report, and put a hold on any cards that were stolen or accounts that you believe may be at risk.
Phone: (260) 487-3409