Identity Theft Protection

What is identity theft?

Identity theft typically involves a thief stealing personal information to pose as someone else. A newer and growing variety is "synthetic identity theft." During synthetic identity theft, personal information is combined with fake data to create a brand new, bogus identity. A thief may combine a Social Security Number with a different name or other fake credentials. This type of theft can often be hard to detect. 

How can identity theft affect you? 

If someone steals your identity, it can damage your finances, credit rating, reputation, and complicate many areas of your life. Identity thieves could:
  • withdrawal all the money in your bank account
  •  make purchases using your credit cards
  • open new accounts (bank, cellular phone, utility, credit cards) in your name
  • get identity and government issued documents with your name and their photo
  • receive medical care under your insurance 
  • take out loans in your name 
  • create a false criminal record by using your identity, if investigated or arrested by law enforcement 
Tax-related identity theft continues to increase. An identity thief might use your Social Security number to:
  • file a false tax return and collect a refund
  • get a job and have earnings reported as your income 

Be advised of traditional tactics

Identity thieves continues to use simple, time-tested tactics to steal a persons identity. A few key tips to keep in mind to avoid being a victim of identity theft include:
Mail Theft
  • Use a locked security mailbox, if possible, or consider renting a P.O. Box at your local post office
  • Drop outgoing mail into a postal mailbox 
Dumpster Diving (trash theft)
  • Shred unwanted documents containing personal information and all unsolicited credit card or loan offers 
  • Invest in a high-quality cross-cut shredder so thieves can't easily piece papers together
Shoulder Surfing
  • Thieves could look over your shoulder or stand close by to steal personal information
  • Avoid sharing personal information over the phone and while in public places. 
Purse or Wallet Snatching
  • Minimize what you carry in your wallet, especially payment cards
  • Never carry your social security card in your wallet
  • Memorize PINs or account passwords rather than having them written down and carrying them with you
Through Consumer Affairs, you can read unbiased reviews to help you make a decision before selecting a identity theft protection plan, if you wish to use one. The link below will provide you information on free and paid services and resources. Consumer affairs would like to educate and inform individuals so they can make smart decisions regarding their credit.

For more information, click here. Using an identity theft protection company, allows you to spot abnormal activity with credit cards, bank accounts, and social security information to help repair and resolve issues regarding identity theft.