Identity theft is something that happens to everyone else, right? That’s a common misconception and, if you believe it, chances are good you will find it to be a very frustrating mistake should it happen to you. Javelin Research reports that 15.4 million U.S. citizens suffered some type of identity theft in 2016. It’s also the most common reason consumers file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission.
Here’s a simple explanation of what can happen. With the boom of e-commerce, many people believe that purchasing online is easy and safe. Yet, what they may not realize is that the app or tool they are using to make a purchase is saving their credit card numbers and other personal data. They are then taking that information and selling it on the dark web, a location online where traders buy and sell this type of information. It’s difficult to find these locations, but when the authorities do, they tend to find millions of accounts available.
Consider What This Means to You
ID theft occurs when your personal information – such as your Social Security number, driver’s license number, address, and name – are used to benefit someone else in some way. This personally identifiable information is hacked all the time.
Did you know that, for example, in 2018, there were numerous companies that had their information accessed? For example, reports of data breaches from Equifax, Marriott Starwood hotels, Quora, Panera, and T-Mobile were among some of the largest companies to have this type of breach, exposing customer data to would-be thieves.
There are many types of data that people can steal and various ways they can do so. For example, here are some common types of ID theft:
- Stolen driver’s licenses
- Debit card fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Online shopping fraud
- Social Security number theft
- Senior identity theft
- Child identity theft
When it comes to ID theft, any type of stolen personal data of yours can be used to benefit another person. This may include thefts such as stealing your ID to open new accounts, to transfer accounts into other ownership, or even to avoid paying taxes.
What Can You Do About It?
The good news is that you can be empowered to protect your identification. To do so, you need to be ready to react should something happen but also take measures to make it much harder for your data to be stolen.
Protect Yourself with ID Theft Insurance
Here at Guttman, we provide our clients with insurance policies that work to protect against ID theft. ID theft insurance policies are very affordable and can be added to an existing policy you have. They don’t pay out for losses. Rather, they do much more. They provide a certain level of financial protection. If you become the victim of ID theft, the policy helps to cover the costs related to recovering your ID. This can be very expensive and time-consuming.
Be Aggressive in Protecting Your ID
In addition to these steps, individuals need to be aggressive in their own efforts to protect personal information. Avoid giving anyone your driver’s license, Social Security number, and address. You also want to avoid giving anyone your credit card or debit card. Work to minimize risks by shredding your mail and documents and keep tax records safe.
All of these steps can help you to avoid losing your ID. As noted, this process is long and complex. Yet it doesn’t have to be as challenging to have financial protection in place to minimize some of your risks.