Identity theft is a crime that happens when someone is able to get access to your personal identifying information. This information could include your social security number, your name or bank account information. Once someone has access to this information they can then take it and use it in a number of ways to make life difficult for the true owner of the information.
What specific types of crimes can a person commit once they are able to steal the identity of a person?
The crimes that can be committed are numerous. For instance someone can decide to open up a credit card account in another person’s name and accumulate all sorts of high debts. In some cases they might be able to get that’s person’s tax refund. Depending on the situation they might be able to get complete identification with a person’s name on it and commit crimes as if they were that person.
If you’re doing everything right in order to protect your personal information, then won’t this ensure your identity can’t get stolen?
It won’t ensure that your identity won’t get stolen, but it should lower the probability. The thing is that it doesn’t always happen as a direct result of carelessness on the part of a person. You use your credit cards on a consistent basis at different businesses or online for example. How many times have you heard in the news about data breaches?
All it takes is one data breach in order to make various forms of personal information available to would be identity thieves.
What’s one of the most effective methods you can use in order to protect yourself from identity theft?
One of the best methods to use, particularly if you feel like you’re at risk, would be to freeze your credit. In order to freeze your credit this is going to require a small fee. What a credit freeze does is it locks your credit so that the only way to access it would be with the use of a pin. What this means is that even if someone is able to get access to certain personal information about you, the pin would stop them from being able to get new lines of credit with it.
Understand one thing about this option though; it doesn’t protect you from all forms of fraud. If someone already possesses certain information about you, then they can still use it to put in bogus tax returns and commit other forms of fraud. Some examples would include employment fraud, medical identity theft or social security fraud.
Does the use of social media increase your chances of having personal information obtained for identity theft?
These days a lot of people use social media to share a lot of personal information they otherwise would never share. Hackers are becoming very good at targeting different social media sites in order to find information they can use to partake in fraudulent activities. You likely have various social media profiles and you must make sure to protect the information on them as best as you can.
No matter what you try to do in order to protect your identity there are still going to be times where you have to put certain information out there that you don’t want to. This is especially the case with certain business or organizations. What you have to do is be willing to ask questions when asked for personal information.
You’ll want to ask questions about how your information is going to be used, how it might be shared and how is it going to be protected. Let anyone asking for personal information know what you’re worried about. If you don’t like the answers you get, then don’t be afraid to go elsewhere.