Identity theft has become a major concern in recent years. It is a rapidly growing crime in American that almost every person is at risk of falling victim of. Thieves who have gained access to your personal information use it to impersonate you. They can apply for mortgages, credit cards, loans, commit crimes, or a number of other information, under your name. This will leave you with the consequences resulting of an identity thief’s actions.
The Scope of Identity Theft
Identity theft is more than just financial fraud. Often there will be detrimental consequences on your finances. You can fall responsible for accumulating debt that was incurred by the thief. Fortunately, since financial fraud and identity theft are growing areas of crime, many financial institutions have adapted to new policies. Often, banks and financial institutions will not hold you responsible for fraudulently incurred debt. Many credit card companies and banks have insurance policies protecting their customers from financial issues that arise from identity theft.
One of the best ways to avoid identity theft is to take preventative measures. Most financial institutions provide tracking services so that accounts are monitored against identity theft. People are also encouraged to monitor their credit score free online. Many services will provide you with monthly updates letting you know that your credit score is in good standing. In cases of suspicious activity on your credit file, they will immediately inform you of it. These monitoring services may impose issues when applying for new credit cards or loans, but in general they are beneficial to preventing identity theft and financial fraud.
Understanding How it Happens
Many people may not understand how identity theft occurs. It does not require any sophisticated knowledge or material to accomplish. Most cases of identity theft are committed by a person who knows the victim. One of the oldest forms of identity theft is through check fraud. Checks are stolen or tampered with in the victim’s name. Another common form of identity theft is through stolen documents. This is why people are told to shred or destroy documents holding personal information, like account numbers. Identity thieves can easily obtain personal information just by going through garbage.
If there is an internal breach within a company, all employees are at risk of identity theft. Employer databases hold a lot of personal and valuable information of its employees. This includes bank account numbers, Social Security Numbers, addresses, and other information valuable to identity thieves. Often if, this happens to an entire company, they will implement protective measures against potential infractions.
Having your wallet stolen, or losing it, is not an uncommon event. Unfortunately, the dangers of it extend far beyond losing the cash inside. Chances are by the time you have realized your wallet has been lost or stolen, a significant amount of damage could have already occurred. It is not difficult for thieves to use credit cards and steal your personal information.
It is essential for every person to be aware and informed about the dangers and potential for identity theft, and to protect themselves from it before it occurs.