If this is your first time hearing about identity theft then we are going to give you our best advice to avoid becoming a victim again in the future. Trusted professionals such as Nicole Brown from Primerica in Denver has experience helping people recover from Identity theft.
What is Identity theft and how it affects your financies
The first thing that you need to know is that identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information (credit card numbers, Social Security Number, date of birth, etc.) without permission. They use that information to commit fraud and other crimes against you. This can lead to a variety of issues including but not limited to the following:
- Loss of credit history & reputation
- Accounts being closed
- Fraudulent charges on your account
- Bank accounts being shut down
How to avoid being an identity theft victim
- Be diligent about keeping your personal information safe!
- Look out for phishing scams – they often look like emails from trusted sources that ask you to click links provided to download software updates. If you’re not familiar with what software update means, it’s just a way for cybercriminals to steal your information.
- Watch out for scam websites that try to trick you into giving your credit card details. They might seem trustworthy but are usually set up by scammers who make money from charging fees to people who have been tricked.
- Don’t give out your password – if someone asks you to do this then they’re probably trying to get access to something that belongs to you.
- Beware of fake apps – don’t install any app that claims to offer free services only to find later that it has actually cost you money or take away your privacy.
- Change your passwords regularly. This includes your email account passwords, banking/credit card passwords, social media accounts, etc. Hackers can hack into these using tools known as “brute force” or by guessing them. You can look into identity protection services that manage your passwords privately.
What to do if you believe to be an Identity Theft Victim?
If you think you may have been a victim of identity theft, here are some tips to help you protect yourself:
– Do not panic. Take the time to find out what happened before you do anything else.
– Contact the three major credit bureaus immediately. A call to each bureau will give you free access to your credit report.
– If you already know who has taken advantage of you, gather proof that can serve you to prove it legally.
– Consider getting a copy of your credit reports from the three bureaus at least once per year. This way, you can monitor changes in your score and make sure any negative items are removed.
Have the guidance of financial professionals through an Identity theft recovery plan
Victims are often not aware they’ve been victimized until after their financial records have been accessed. To minimize the damage, you need to take immediate steps to protect yourself before further fraudulent activity gets associated with your personal information, don’t wait until a fraud alert gets at your house, act now.
Don’t want to go through an identity theft report alone? Nicole Brown from Primerica has assisted by creating a comprehensive identity theft recovery plan.