As our world relies more on technology, life gets a little easier. However, technology isn’t without its challenges. One of those challenges is identity theft. People put their personal details out on the internet. And it’s not difficult for someone with experience and bad intentions to steal those details. Find out everything you should know about identity theft and prepare yourself for it. If it happens to you, there are a few things you should know.
What is identity theft?
A stolen identity isn’t a new thing. It’s been around for years but has become more common. When someone uses your personal details without your permission, identity theft is at play. It can be done in-person or online. Someone can steal your name and address. Or, they could take your credit card or bank account numbers. They can even take your social security number or medical insurance numbers. When a thief takes your information, they can use it for their personal gain. And this leaves you a victim in need of help.
While identity theft comes in many forms, the form isn’t what matters. What matters is how it affects you. You might be responsible for paying for the debts of a credit card. Although you never used the card, it may be in your name and leave you on the hook for the debt. It’s also possible that you never even knew about the bills in your name. Nevertheless, you would still be responsible for them. This can hurt your credit and leave you with very poor credit.
Most Common Types of ID Theft
Some forms of ID theft are more common than others. Here’s a look at some of the most common types of ID theft. Many of them overlap, and you may find yourself a victim of multiple forms of theft.
Someone can steal your identity and use it for their own medical use. They could file a false worker’s compensation claim for financial gain. Additionally, they could use the theft to get various types of surgeries. In fact, some criminals use the theft for cosmetic surgery. This makes it more difficult for people to find and identify them.
At other times, thieves can file fake disability claims and fake medical liability claims. They may even make insurance claims that leave you on the hook for their medical bills.
2. Social Security
When someone has your social security, they can make some serious trouble for you. They may be able to get new social security cards by claiming that they lost the original. With your information, they could take all of your social security benefits. It’s not uncommon for the elderly to find themselves victims of social security theft. Welfare benefits, housing vouchers, and medical care may all be given to the thieves and taken from you.
3. Character Theft
If a thief steals your identity and commits a crime, you may be in trouble. Because the police believe you committed the crime, you may face charges. Clearing up the confusion can be difficult.
Many people find themselves in bad situations because of their stolen identity. Nothing good can come of it, and it’s up to you to bring an end to it. But it’s not easy to bring the theft to an end.
How can you protect yourself?
There are a few key ways in which you can protect your identity. First, you should keep your wallet in a safe and visible place. You should always use your credit card or debit card with care, and keep your PIN number protected. When you keep a close eye on your wallet and cards, you can prevent someone from stealing your details in-person.
When you’re shopping online, it’s a good idea to choose challenging passwords. Don’t be predictable. Instead, pick passwords based on random letters and numbers. While this might make it harder for you to remember, it also makes it impossible for a thief to guess. You should also be sure to only shop on websites that are legitimate. To stay safe, only shop on websites that begin with “https”. Check to see that the site is verified and look online for scam alerts. Perform a search on your favorite search engine for the website, and see what pops up. Many scammer sites already have numerous complaints that you can find online.
Putting your personal information on a computer that’s not your own is a big risk. If you’re at the library or a friend’s house, avoid buying anything. You never know where your information could end up.
What should you do if someone accuses you of identity theft?
When someone is a victim of identity theft, the situation is stressful. They may point fingers at you, regardless of whether or not you were the thief. And if someone does accuse you, you need to get a lawyer. Only a lawyer with experience can handle your case well. If you can find a lawyer with specific skills in fighting these theft charges, you may get a good outcome.