Identity theft appears straightforward, right? But no– there are at least 8 types of identity theft to which we are all susceptible. Thankfully, being aware is half the battle. Here’s how to (1) be aware of and avoid identity theft and (2) recover in the case of a stolen identity.
- Estate Identity Theft. Losing a loved one is difficult enough, but having their identity stolen can make the pain that much worse. Identity thieves can access a person’s details after death and drain accounts, take out loans, and steal government benefits. Avoid this unnecessary and painful strain by getting copies of the official death certificate and terminating all accounts.
- Criminal Identity Theft. Imagine going into a background check, and failing because of a criminal record– when you’ve never done anything wrong. Criminals sometimes provide fake identities to law enforcers, which often can go unnoticed for an extended period of time. How to avoid this? Consider signing up for identity protection services and be wary of how much you share on social media.
- Child Identity Theft. You may notice something off in your account balance, but a child will not. Children are often the easy victims of identity theft– don’t let your child find they cannot take out college loans or have a low credit score 18 years after the fact. Secure your children’s social security numbers, birthdays, address. Thieves can steal the information from school and store databases, so always ask how the school plans to protect the information.
- Medical Identity Theft. This type of theft is not only a hazard to your finances, but to your health. Doctor’s may refer to the thief’s medical history and use that information in treating you incorrectly. The financial impact: difficulty getting life insurance, and bogus medical bills that will kill your credit score if unpaid and undisputed.
- Employment Identity Theft. This can happen when someone can’t find a job because of a criminal record or has poor credit. The fraudster will steal your identity to get the job– and earn income that the IRS will go to you for taxes on. Check your credit report often for entities you don’t recognize in the soft inquiries, and contact them if any are unfamiliar.
- Existing Account Takeover. This is the most common type of identity theft. The thief breaks into one of your existing accounts, and from there is able to access your information and details. Avoid this by checking your accounts weekly, and carefully: the thief may start with small charges to try to avoid notice.
- New Account Identity Theft. A thief may also create an account under your name. Ever thrown away a credit card application in the mail? This is one opening for a thief: they can fill out the application and submit it. Request a free credit monitoring report through one of the three major credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com
- Tax Identity Theft. The IRS will never ask for information via social media, email, or text message, and they will never threaten legal action. Look out for these “phishing” red flags. Keep your personally identifiable information (PII) safe and submit your taxes to avoid having someone else file them!
Check your account statements for fraudulent activity regularly. If you see something wrong, the sooner you act the better. Contact the company with whom you have the account, close it immediately, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Questions about insuring your assets? Call BMR Insurance Agency today at 714-838-1911 for a free quote.