Basic Facts About Identity Theft
A recent breach that potentially exposed the personal information of over 143 million Americans has many citizens alarmed about becoming victims of identity theft. And, with a record high of 15.4 million reported U.S. victims in 2016, identity theft is a rising concern.
Identity theft can come in many different forms, but in most cases the goal of the thief is to profit financially by using your personal information. The first step in protecting yourself is to understand a few basic facts about identity theft.
What exactly is identity theft?
Identity theft, also known as “identity fraud”, “ID theft” and “ID fraud”, is the unauthorized use of your personal information. That may include your name, address, Social Security Number, birth date, or other miscellaneous financial information. And identity theft can happen to anyone, anytime, with consequences ranging from minor to severe.
What happens when your identity is stolen?
Many people identify more with the financial consequences of becoming a victim of identity theft; however, having your good name smeared by a thief conducting illegal actions can often lead to a greater burden than if they open new accounts or write bad checks on your behalf. Often, if you are victimized by this type of attack, you will find that it takes a considerable amount of time and effort to address the damage that has been done to you.
Common identity theft violations
Here are some of the things a thief might do with your personal information:
- Change the address on one of your existing credit card accounts so you don’t notice new charges racking up
- Open a newly created card account in your name, but not your address
- Set up a phone or wireless service in your name and make phone calls
- Open a bank account in your name and then write bad checks
- File for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts they’ve incurred under your name, or to avoid eviction
- Buy cars and homes by taking out auto loans and mortgages in your name
Who are these thieves?
Identity theft crimes are often committed by people you have never met, but have hacked your information online or bought it from someone else on the dark web. But keep in mind that identity theft crimes also happen among friends and family members.
How can I protect my identity?
Enrolling in a credit monitoring and identity theft protection service, like Identity Guard, can help to alleviate some of the pressure of monitoring your credit files personally. Our service includes 24/7 dark web monitoring, that can monitor for your personal information on numerous black market sites, and notify you of certain activities that may indicate fraud. This notification can allow you to take action to recover and restore your identity.
For help with protecting yourself from identity theft, enroll in Identity Guard, a credit monitoring and identity protection service that can help you protect your identity and the identities of those you care about.
Don’t settle for less than the best when it comes to protecting your personal information. AMAC has partnered with Identity Guard® – Learn more today.