Identity theft is a scary subject. The thought that someone could infiltrate your personal information, credit accounts or access to web sites keeps many people up at night. But what exactly is identity theft? And how can we prevent it from happening?
Today, we’ll look at what identity theft is and how the bad guy can get your information. Then come back tomorrow when we offer a few ways to not only prevent identity theft, but also offer some resources for if you are a victim.
You have worked hard over a long period of time to build up a positive reputation, and your credit score is part of that equation. When looking to open a credit card, get a student loan, buy a car or purchase a home, one of the key ingredients to that process is your credit score.
As we have talked about in the past, there are three credit reporting agencies that are considered in this process: Experian, Equifax and Transunion. It is important to know what your scores are, why you have that score, and what you need to do to improve your score.
Identity theft can make a significant impact on a number of areas of your life, including your credit score.
The most common type of identity theft is someone using your stolen credit cards, debit cards, checks or account information to make purchases or withdraw money from your accounts. This information can be stolen a number of ways; an individual can steal the physical credit card/checks or they can take the card or check numbers off a receipt or a bill.
However, someone might open new accounts using your name, your address (or another address), and a stolen social security number or other forms of personal identification. With that information, someone might make purchases or obtain credit in your name. While this doesn’t happen as frequently, it can be even more dangerous.
You are likely to detect identity theft when charges you have not authorized show up on your credit card bill or when your bank account is surprisingly low on funds. However, if the thief uses a different mailing address, you might not learn that a fraudulent accounts exist until you are turned down for credit or check your credit report.
What happens when someone steals your identity? How can you prevent it from happening? And what steps do you need to take if/when there is an issue? Stop back tomorrow for answers to those important questions!