what It Is and How To Prevent It
Identity theft occurs when a criminal has gained access to your sensitive personal information and are using it to impersonate you. They obtain the information through either hacking your accounts or from a data breach of an organization that has your information. Or maybe you were phished - sent an email asking you to verify personal or account information on a web site that appears to be legitimate, but was not.
They often will often either take over your existing bank or credit union accounts and credit cards, or they will use your information to establish new ones and leave you to pay the bills that come due.
Here are some helpful links on identity theft:
What you can do to prevent identity theft - a few simple tricks can keep you safe
- Change your passwords to sites and accounts regularly
- If you are in the military and about to deploy, add an active duty alert to your credit reports
- Put a credit freeze on your credit report
- Be suspicious of emails that announce "Urgent! We need to verify your information" Or "You need to access your account or it will be locked" - these are usually scammers trying to get you to enter your personal information into a spoofed site so that they can capture it
- Keep your financial documents and records in a safe place at home or in a safe deposit box
- Limit what you carry - take your ID and the debit and/or credit cards you'll need, but leave the Social Security Card at home
- Shred receipts, credit offers, credit applications, physicians statements or medical bills, checks, bank statements, etc., if you no longer need them
- Keep your passwords private
- Don't overshare on social media
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