If you’re reading this then you are, have been or are worried about becoming a victim of identity theft. Identity theft is a billion dollar industry that’s right billion with a “B”. Criminals are standing by 24/7 to sell your information on the dark or deep web or use it for their own gain. Whilst, we can never stop identity theft, it is important to know how you can protect yourself from identity theft especially in the coming tax season.
How to Prevent Identity Theft Online?
There are several ways that you can protect yourself from identity theft and to begin, we should address how you can prevent Identity theft online.
When we think about our online lives, we share way too much information than we should online. If you type your name into Google, you would be shocked at the amount of personal information that you can find about yourself online. Moreover, you were the one who probably put the information online in the first place. With a few clicks of the mouse and $1 I could steal your information right now and assume your identity. If you want to protect your identity online and protect yourself from identity theft, then you need to reduce or remove your digital footprint. this can be done in a multitude of ways, including removing yourself from social media or creating a social media account that does not have any personal information on it, and uses an assumed name or online persona.
Other ways to reduce your digital footprint are not entering competitions, not giving out personal information about yourself on websites that you do not trust or no, or filling out any applications that you think may not be legitimate. There are several companies who will scrub you from the internet for a small fee and make sure that your information stays off the internet as well as for sale on the dark web.
Id Theft Protection
Once you got your information locked down, you may want to look into ID theft protection software such as LifeLock a company that will monitor and alert you to the use of your information or credit cards being opened in your name or other financial transactions that you may or may not know of.
How to Prevent Identity Theft Online
ID Theft Protection is a great idea and is affordable. Most plans start at about $10 a month and having this type of insurance gives you access to legal teams who can repair your credit and up to 1 million dollars to help you settle any bills or claims that have been made in your name by a fraudster. Without such help, you would have to foot the bill and have ruined credit by fraudsters who opened credit cards and taking out loans in your name.
How to Report Identity Theft
If you find you’ve been a victim of identity theft you may not be sure how to report identity theft. If you fall victim, then you can report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission or to equifax or any other credit reporting agency or your local police station. Whilst it is easy to prove identity theft, it is hard to find the culprits of the crime or crimes as they may be.
What are the Types of Identity Theft I May Face Without Protection?
Identity theft can take many forms but the biggest form of identity theft is financial identity theft. Other forms of identity theft include; medical identity theft, criminal identity theft, child identity theft, synthetic identity theft and others. Let’s talk about some of these types of identity theft in more detail.
Medical Identity Theft
Medical identity theft is where your information is used to seek medical treatment or to get prescriptions. This type of theft is commonly used by drug addicts who are looking to get amphetamines or opioids and will steal prescription pads or use the NPI (national provider identifier) of deceased doctors to get the medicine they need to subdue their addiction. Medical identity theft if proven can land you in jail for at least 5 years.
Identity Theft in Minors
Child identity theft is where a criminal will use a child’s social security number and other details to get car loans lines of credit and other unscrupulous financial gains. This type of fraud is on the rise and can ruin a child’s life before it’s even begun and entered into adulthood.
How to Protect Myself From Tax Fraud?
Tax fraud is awful folks! Between divorced couples or identity thieves millions of dollars are stolen each year from people like yourself who fall victim to identity theft and have their tax return stolen before they can even file a return. The best way to protect yourself from this type of fraud is to have a tax ID number and only have your taxes done by someone you trust or by a reputable party. Do not let any one of your family members do your taxes unless you trust them with your life, or your refund. Once the refund has been paid out, the IRS will not pay it again. If you are going through a divorce, make sure that your taxes are done by a professional and not by either party either you or your spouse. That way the tax return cannot be taken by one party over the other, and split as per whatever the judge ordered.
What Do I Do if I am a Victim of Identity Theft?
If you find yourself the victim of identity theft, it is important to report that to the necessary or authorities immediately. Also, you should write to any and all creditors who have issued loans and credit cards in your name, inform them that you have been a victim of identity theft and that you did not authorize any loans at all. It would also be wise to seek the advice of an attorney if you do not have identity theft protection.