What you need to know about identity theft
You've seen the headlines and watched countless news clips. But do you know the signs of identity theft and how to protect yourself?
Identity theft is a fact of life in our world today. But you can arm yourself with information to help protect yourself. Find out what to do about identity theft, how to know when you're a victim, and how to prevent it from happening to you.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is a crime that happens when a family member, trusted friend, or complete stranger takes your personal information and uses it without your permission, usually for the purposes of financial benefit The stolen information can include data as simple as your name and your address, or it can involve more sensitive information like your Social Security number, your bank account number, or your insurance account numbers.
How does identity theft happen?
When a physical possession goes missing, you might notice right away. In contrast, people can steal your identity without you realizing anything is wrong. Some common ways for unsavory characters to steal your identity are through a data breach, by installing malware on your computer, by stealing your mail, or by taking your credit card information.
How to check for identity theft
A few common signs of identity theft may alert you to the fact that you've become a victim. If you see any of these warning signals, be aware that your personal information may have been compromised:
How to report identity theft
When you discover that you're a victim of ID theft, it’s important to report it right away.
Here’s a guide for some key steps you can take to report identity theft to the companies, agencies and authorities who need to know what’s happened.
How to prevent identity theft
Follow these steps to help protect yourself from identity theft:
Looking for more tips on how to prevent identity theft, or what you should do if you think your identity has been stolen? Check out these pointers.