Identity theft is a hot-button topic as of late — and for a good reason.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has identified identity theft as one of the top three consumer fraud complaints of 2020. Credit card fraud was identified as the most prevalent issue regarding identity theft cases, with approximately 167,000 individuals filing credit card fraud cases.
If you’ve never been a victim of identity theft, it can be hard to understand what it entails. So, before jumping into ways to protect yourself, it is vital to define identity theft and the consequences that might follow.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is the act of someone obtaining the personal or financial information of another individual. Their information is then used to commit fraudulent activities, such as unauthorized purchases or obtaining a loan in the other person’s name. Information that these criminals go after include:
- Social Security numbers
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card information
- Driver’s license
While this information is typically taken from adults, there are many cases in which criminals attempt to steal children’s identity.
How Identity Theft Affects You
So, if someone manages to get ahold of your personal or financial information, what exactly are the consequences? Not only can they wrack up thousands and thousands of dollars in debt, but it can also:
- Run your credit score into the ground.
- With your credit score affected, you can start seeing your insurance rates rise.
- Could affect your child’s ability to collect Financial Aid for school.
- Leave you with an undeserved criminal record.
5 Steps to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
While identity theft can be extremely scary, the good news is that there are now more ways than ever to help you protect yourself before anything bad can happen. Here are five steps you can take to protect your identity from thieves:
- Research your options for identity theft protection
- Regularly monitor your financial accounts for suspicious activities
- Enroll in a credit monitoring service
- Password protect all devices using unique passwords
- Never leave a paper trail – cross shred all unnecessary documents/records
Secure your Finances and Your Future with Identity Theft Protection from The ACE Group
Protecting yourself from identity theft is crucial because once the damage is done, it can be challenging to recover. So, instead of waiting for a catastrophe to happen, take the necessary precautions and avoid it altogether. Identity theft is a reality in the world today — protect it, don’t fix it!
Have questions regarding identity theft and the damage it can cause? Contact The ACE Group today for more information.