Since 2013, over ONE BILLION Americans have had their identities compromised.
Your personal information now lives online. Sharing an email address or even a credit card number is part of everyday life, but more than ever, this makes you vulnerable to thieves.
17.6 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014, according to a government report released Sunday. (Washington Examiner 9/27/15)
- 86% of the victims were targets of credit card and bank account fraud.
- An estimated 8.6 million victims had their credit card accounts stolen.
- 8.1 million victims had bank accounts meddled with.
- Another 1.5 million experience other varying types of identity theft, including telephone and insurance fraud.
- Two-thirds of victims suffered direct financial losses.
- 14% lost $1,000 or more.
The report, conducted by the statistics branch of the Justice Department, determined the number of instances of attempted and successful use of personal banking, credit card, and other types of account information for fraudulent purposes like “obtaining government benefits or providing false information to police during a crime or traffic stop.”
Shielding your private information with no risk of a breakdown may be impossible these days. But there are some simple ways to protect you from becoming a victim of Identity Theft. Listed below are some simple, but very important, tips to protect you and your name.
10 WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IDENTITY THEFT
- Arm yourself and your family with IDShield! Identity theft affects millions of Americans each year. IDShield provides privacy and security monitoring, consultation, and Comprehensive Identity Restoration from Kroll. So in the unfortunate event something does happen to your identity, you’ll have professional help in getting your identity restored to what it was before the fraud occurred. To ensure you have the best coverage possible, there is an IDShield Family plan that includes you, your spouse/partner, and up to 8 children.
- Destroy private records and statements.Tear up – or, if you prefer, shred – credit cards statements, solicitations, and other documents that contain private financial information.
- Secure your mail.Empty you mailbox quickly, lock it or get a P.O. box so criminals don’t have a chance to snatch credit card pitches. Never mail outgoing bill payments and checks from home. They can be stolen from your mailbox and the payee’s name erased with solvents. Mail them from the post office or another secure location.
- Safeguard your Social Security number.Never carry your card with you, or any other card that may have your number, like a health insurance card. Don’t put your number on your checks. It’s the primary target for identity thieves because it gives them access to your credit report and bank accounts.
- Don’t leave a paper trail.Never leave ATM, credit card or gas station receipts behind.
- Never let your credit card out of your sight.Worried about credit card skimming? Always keep an eye on your card or, when that’s not possible, pay with cash. Review your credit cards statements carefully. Make sure you recognize the merchants, locations and purchases listed before paying the bill. If you don’t need or use department-store or bank-issued credit cards, consider closing the accounts.
- Know who you’re dealing with.Whenever anyone contacts you asking for private identity or financial information, make no response other than to find out who they are, what company they represent and the reason for the call. If you think the request is legitimate, contact the company yourself and confirm what you were told before revealing any of your personal data.
- Take your name off marketers’ hit lists.In addition to the national Do-Not-Call registry (1-888-382-1222), you can also cut down on junk mail and opt out of credit card solicitations.
- Monitor your credit report.Obtain and thoroughly review your credit report (included with your IDShield plan!) at least once a year to check for suspicious activity. If you find something, alert your card company or the creditor immediately. You may also look into credit protection services, which alerts you any time a change takes place with your credit report.