What is Identity Theft?
We all use names, account numbers and passwords to verify our identities to organizations, but these can be stolen by criminals and cause us financial ruin. The key to avoiding this problem is awareness and understanding ways to keep our identities safe. This video teaches:
- Why our identity is so important in everyday life
- What criminals do when they steal a person’s identity
- Why sensitive documents are a risk and how to keep them safe
- How criminals use phone calls, emails and fake websites to fool people
- Why it’s important to review your bills and bank statements
Having an identity is just part of being human. Your name, birth date, relationships and more define who you are and help others identify you as a unique person.
The problem is that your identity isn’t very secure without attention. A criminal can easily steal it, pretend to be you and cause serious problems.
Think about it this way… Organizations like banks depend on each customer having a unique identity. They establish this with information like your name, social security number, address and birthdate.
Once your identity is established, it becomes easier to work with the bank, manage your finances, withdraw money, and apply for credit cards and loans. Online, you can use passwords and PINs to access your accounts and personal information.
If a criminal steals your identity, they can fool organizations and access the same resources you can. If this happens, they can change your contact info, billing address and login information so you lose access. Then, they can apply for credit cards and loans that put you in debt and ruin your credit, before you even know there’s a problem.
Identity theft can happen to anyone and it takes years to recover. The key to reducing this risk is awareness.
In order for a criminal to steal your identity they need your personal information like account numbers, passwords, medical records and social security numbers.
This information often appears on documents that criminals may be able to find when we’re careless. Always keep sensitive documents in a safe place and if possible, have a mailbox with a lock. Be careful what you put in the trash and shred any documents that may be a risk.
Your computers and devices can also be risks. Use strong passwords and PINs, and a password manager to help make it easy.
Criminals may also contact you directly, posing as an organization, and fool you into handing over the personal information they need. Remember, organizations like your tax office and banks will NOT call you to ask for personal or account information. Be aware and never give out passwords, PINs or social security numbers over the phone.
The same is true with email and websites, where criminals are very good at appearing official. If an email looks suspicious or asks for your account information, don’t click any links. Just delete it.
Protecting yourself also means paying close attention to bank statements and bills. If something looks out of place, contact the organization immediately.
Above all, remember that your identity is a target for criminals. Don’t make it easy for them and you’ll be able to avoid years of problems.
This FAQ library was created by Eran Bucai. Eran is an online entrepreneur who is passionate about helping people find success in building a profitable business online without the high ticket prices and without the marketing hype.
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