Category: Identity Theft

5 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft


Identity theft is a common problem in a culture that thrives on connectivity. According to a recent study, 13.1 million consumers lost a combined $15 billion to identity theft last year. While it seems impossible to avoid the widespread threat, there are a few best practices to ensure your credit safety:

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7 Steps to Take When You Suspect Identity Theft

shutterstock_431388016Identity theft affects millions of consumers each year, many of whom don’t realize a problem exists until a bill arrives or their credit score suffers. Worse yet are those who have been scammed but the identity thief hasn’t acted. If you find yourself stuck in financial crime limbo, follow the steps below to minimize the damage before it occurs. The result could save you time, money and countless credit score points.

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Identity Theft’s Impact on Your Credit Score


Identity theft is a crime that has a substantial impact on the victim. If you experience identity theft, the consequences can have rippling effects that may follow you for the rest of your life.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, identity theft is unfortunately a fairly common type of crime. The state of Florida reported the highest number of complaints at 38,982 in 2014. The top five states for cybercrime in 2014 that led to identity theft included:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

Awareness of the crime and knowing how to react will help you protect yourself against the repercussions of identity theft.

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How Worried Should We Really Be About Tax Identity Theft?


If you’re of the opinion, “Oh, that won’t happen to me…” I hope we can get you to rethink that before it’s too late.

In February of this year, the IRS reported a 400% increase in malware and phishing tax fraud schemes. That means tax identity thieves are proving diabolical, getting you to pay them money directly for fake taxes owed or to freely give them your personal identity information so they can steal tax refunds in your name. Either way they are stealing billions.

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Data Breaches After the Holidays — Keep an Eye on Those Statements


Holiday excitement is over, but there’s a good chance your credit card balances are still lingering in the New Year. Traveling, gifts and celebrating are just a few end-year expenses that can throw even the strictest budget off course. You may have fallen behind when it comes to tracking spending and keeping your records current; while this isn’t the end of the world, it allows credit card and identity theft to go unnoticed for much longer. Keep an eye on your statements and credit reports in January. Trouble may be lurking from a variety of sources, including:

  • Fraudulent charges from known sources. Identity thieves are known for collecting data and waiting until the right moment to use it. For example, suppose a department store clerk stole your credit card number while checking you out before the holidays. He waits until late January to begin using your account, hoping you won’t notice a few small charges. This case of identity theft could last months before being noticed, costing you money and leading to a long and tedious fraud identification process.
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