Identity theft is a very serious ongoing issue in the United States of America. It is a type of crime that is very difficult to prevent even though it is punishable by law. Millions of people are victims of this kind of crime every year. In fact, in 2019, there were more than ten million US citizens that had to deal with such fraud. Fortunately, both the government and citizens becoming more and more aware of ID fraud and know how to protect from it.
However, considering that ten million people were victims, you can imagine just how many people are not protecting themselves properly from identity theft. This is why I decided to write this article to try and spread some awareness concerning this problem.
I want to specifically focus on the most commonly used types of ID scams and the best ways you can prevent that from happening to you. I hope that after you read this article that you will know how to properly protect yourself from such criminals.
1. Stolen bank account
One of the most common types of ID scams is unfortunately the worst one. Losing your bank account is one of those things that you wouldn’t want to happen to anyone. Unfortunately, it does happen and quite often. These hackers, cheaters, and criminals manage somehow to get access to other people’s bank accounts.
Once the scammer gets access, they can do everything that you could do. Withdraw all of the funds from an ATM or even a bank, if they are skilled enough. Purchase products through online stores such as Amazon, eBay, or any other. The worst thing about this is the fact that if you do not notice, your bank will not either. For them, online purchases or withdrawals are completely normal activity for the account.
To avoid these kinds of situations, it is recommended to never share your personal or login information with anyone. Even if a bank official contacts you through phone, SMS, or email and ask you for your login information, you shouldn’t share it. Always keep it to yourself.
That is one certain way to prevent ID/bank account theft. For extra safety, I recommend enabling notifications for any kind of activity. You will receive notifications for every single withdrawal or purchase made with your credit card.
2. Lost wallet
Another way very simple way scammers can get access to some of your personal and private information is with your credit and ID cards. How they can get access to those cards? Well, it is easy. It is not an uncommon occasion for people to lose their wallets. I am sure that it has happened to you once or twice in your life, right?
Well, unfortunately, not everyone is a good Samaritan. Someone could find it and use it for their own selfish benefits. If you keep everything in your wallet, they will have access to almost anything. The money in your bank account, your Social Security number, your full name, home address, and many other bits of personal information.
I know, there is not much you can do when you lose your wallet. But, what you should do is report this to the police and your bank as suggested by bestidentityservies.com. The moment someone tries to use your identity or your card, this will be reported to the police and to the bank, making it easy to catch the criminal.
Do not worry, your money will be saved because once you notify the bank, all of your funds will be frozen. Money cannot be withdrawn from the credit card and it will be impossible to pay for anything with it.
3. Fake accounts
It is very important to understand that there are some scammers and hackers that are much more advanced than you might think. These people do not rely on you losing your wallet or sharing your personal information. Now, they get access to what you need by hacking or even going through your trash. Yes, these cameras are ready to do anything to steal your money.
Once they managed to get your personal information such as your name, your home address, or even your Social Security number, they can start creating fake accounts on your name. With these fake accounts, they could basically do anything. This is probably the worst type of identity theft that could happen there is no easy way to be notified about all of this.
Imagine, a bank account in your name that you do not even know that exists. Basically, the scammer gets a limitless credit card and starts racking up a huge debt in your name. After that, you may not even be able to prove that it was not you. Leaving you to pay that debt.
There is no easy way to protect yourself against this. You will need to find a paid software or services that are going to monitor any kind of activity with your name. Once someone tries to use your personal information to access the bank, you will be immediately informed.
4. Tax fraud
This is the type of fraud that is not very common nowadays, but it still does happen. Here is how it happens.
An identity thief impersonates a representative of the IRS. They could come to your door, contact you on the phone, or even by email. Keep in mind, it can be very difficult to recognize such an impersonator because they are so good at it.
With this impersonation, they will try to get some of your personal information and most importantly, your Social Security number. With it, they can falsely start filing your taxes and hoping to get a refund. This is illegal and punishable by law, so if you notice any kind of suspicious activity with your taxes, I recommend that you immediately contact the IRS and the police. Tell them that you have been a victim of identity theft.
There are probably many other ways scammers and hackers could get access to your accounts and personal info, but I believe that these four types of ID theft that I mentioned above are the most common ones. I hope that after you read through this article, you will know how to protect against them.