Common Ways Criminals Steal Your Identity
There are many different types of theft when it comes to identity. Criminals may sometimes use others’ identities when they are charged with crimes. Some illegal immigrants, debtors, and others use identity cloning, adopting your identity for their own purposes. Patients can assume your identity when seeking medical care, particularly if they gain access to your insurance details. Most commonly, thieves can commit theft using your financial identity – stealing bank account or credit card information – or steal a minor’s identity but using his or her social security number.
Preventing Thieves from Stealing Your Identity
Identity thieves are more sophisticated than ever before and have many strategies for obtaining the information they need to steal your identity. It is vital to recognize areas of vulnerability so that you can protect yourself from these criminals. For example:
- Zealously protect your social security number. Consider it confidential and provide it only when necessary.
- Avoid providing personal or financial information to unknown, unverified parties.
- Never use personal details for your online passwords. That includes spouse and children’s names, birthdates, pet names, and so on.
- Shred all financial documents before disposing of them.
- Monitor your credit card and bank statements regularly and note unexpected charges.
- Never provide personal or financial information over the phone, through texts, or email, unless you are certain of the recipient’s identity.
- Keep all critical personal and financial documents in a secure environment.
The best way to prevent your identity from being stolen is to develop identity protection habits that safeguard your vital information. Unfortunately, no system is 100% foolproof, but you can minimize risk and deter most criminals from stealing your identity by making it more difficult for them to access your personal details.