What is identity theft? According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics they specify three types of identity theft incidents. Unauthorized use or attempted use of an existing account, unauthorized use or attempted use of personal information to open a new account and misuse of personal information for a fraudulent purpose.
For anyone that has ever experienced identity theft it can be a very chaotic, unnerving event in their lives. Victims of identity theft are left feeling incredibly vulnerable, confused, and even helpless at times. Over 10 million Americans a year are victims of identity theft. Identity theft also has extensive financial and social impacts on victims lives. The Identity Theft Resource Center conducted a survey revealing these startling statistics:
- Victims lose an average of $1,820 to $14, 340 in wages dealing with their cases
- 47% of victims have trouble getting credit or a loan as a result of identity theft
- 11% of victims say identity theft has a negative impact on their abilities to get jobs
- 70% of victims have trouble getting rid of (or never get rid of) negative information in their records
- 40% of victims experience stress in their family lives as a result of displaced anger and frustration over the identity theft
It is clear that the damage of identity theft is extremely detrimental to one’s life. To help you avoid becoming a victim of identity theft in the future we have researched these helpful tips. USA.gov has provided the following 10 helpful tips to prevent identity theft.
- Secure your social security number. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet or write your number on your checks. Only give out your social security number (SSN) when absolutely necessary.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (your name, birthdate, social security number, or bank account number) by phone, mail, or online.
- Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Shield the keypad when typing your passwords on computers and at ATMs.
- Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
- Review your receipts. Ask for carbon copies and incorrect charge slips as well. Promptly compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired cards, to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
- Store personal information in a safe place at home and at work.
- Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
- Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess easily. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases.
Even with the latest identity theft prevention efforts there is still a chance you may fall victim to this crime one day. We welcome you to contact an Allied Insurance Managers expert to learn how you can insure yourself against identity theft.