What is identity theft?
Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information and uses it without you knowing. This can destroy your finances and credit history.
How to avoid identity theft?
- Avoid clicking on links you are unsure about. If you are interested in links, gently hover over the link with the mouse and you can see the destination URL you will be sent to.
- Shred your documents, don’t just throw them out. Identity thefts will go to great lengths, including looking through dumpsters for personal information.
- Don’t carry your social security card. If your wallet is stolen, the thief now has access to your SSN and can easily apply for credit in your name.
- Create strong passwords. Avoid using the same passwords for multiple sites. Change passwords often.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi to access sensitive data. We all want free Wi-Fi everywhere we go, but hackers can actually set up free Wi-Fi in public places and get ahold of your data. Make sure the data you are connecting to is secure and can be trusted.
What do I do if someone has stolen my identity?
- Contact one of the credit reporting agencies’ fraud alert departments.
- Contact your lenders, banks, and insurance companies.
- Periodically check your credit reports over the next year.
- Work with the credit reporting agencies to remove fraudulent activities from your credit report.
- Work with your credit card companies to reverse fraudulent charges to your credit card.
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