<blockquote>Identity theft is everywhere these days, but do you know it can come in several different varieties? </blockquote>
From Target, to Nordstrom, to Michaels- we are hearing details about another data breach every week or two this year. These data breaches at major brick and mortar stores make it more important than ever to protect yourself with some type of identity theft protection. Id theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, especially in United States. <h2> Would you be able to recognize the crime before it destroyed your credit?</h2>
It no longer simply a financial crime. There a many different types of identity theft and this is one reason it is growing at such an alarming rate. From tax return identity theft, to passport fraud and medical identity theft. The number of ways for someone to steal your identity is alarming. It helps to know the most common ways criminals try to get your information.
Identity thieves can steal your identity by obtaining personal information such as your social security number, driver’s license number, date of birth, address, gender, occupation and other identifying information. They get this information when they get a hold of a lost or stolen wallet, by stealing mail, a data breach, a computer virus, “phising” scams or documents that have been thrown in the garbage. <h2>The Top Ways Your ID Can Be Taken</h2> #1 – <strong>Criminal ID Theft</strong>
Criminal identity theft has a way of coming back to haunt you, even after you think you have everything sorted out. This type of id theft was depicted in the recent “Identity Thief” movie with Jason Bateman. This is one of the more painful ways to found out your id has been taken hostage. Basically, you find out because the police are looking for you. Someone else has used your name when they committed a crime.
#2 – <strong>Children Identity Theft</strong>
Your children make prime targets for identity thieves because they do not have any credit history to be aware of. This leaves the thieves with a clean slate to wreak havoc on. We as parents, also share some of the blame here too. We are doing well enough if we can just keep track of our own credit reports, let alone think about running one for our young kids. According to the most recent identity theft statistics, this is among the fastest growing segments of id fraud.
#3 – <strong>Medical Id Fraud</strong>
Medical identity theft involves someone filing claims against your health insurance policy. While it may not seem as severe as financial id fraud, for victims, it can be just as devastating. Have you ever spent hours on the phone with Blue Cross and Blue Shield and try to actually speak to a decision maker? It can be mind numbingly frustrating.
#4 – <strong>Tax Return Identity Fraud</strong>
More and more identity thieves are using your personal financial data and filing a fraudulent tax return on your behalf in order to try and steal your tax return. This is one of the more difficult forms of theft to track down because they normally use fake ETF transfers and close the account once the refund is sent.
#5 – <strong>Financial Id Theft</strong>
This is the most common type of id theft and what we hear about most in the media. This involves the usual suspects: credit cards, bank accounts, checks and any other type of loan. To make it easy to understand, this type of theft invovles any type of financial relationships. Monitoring your credit reports is the best way to monitor and prevent this type of theft.
<h3>The Aftermath & Dealing With The Damage</h3> #1 – Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Call the company and follow up your request in writing and include copies of supporting documents. Make sure to send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested so you can document what the company received and when. When you open new accounts, use a new PIN and passwords. Don’t use easily available information like your mother’s maiden name or your birthday.
# 2 – File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. This helps law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them.
#3 – File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Take a printed copy of your FTC ID Theft Complaint form, your cover letter, and your supporting documentation.
#4 – Put a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit reports. This will stop the thief from opening any new accounts in your name. Review your credit report for any inaccuracies.