With annual cases now exceeding 10 million people, identity theft is a growing problem. It can be a shock when it happens, but your best defense could be a good offense – by proactively monitoring your information and guarding your most personal details. So when it comes to your identity, how does the theft happen?
This is part 1 of a series we are writing on identity theft. In future installments, we will look at some ways to safeguard yourself and smart steps you can take to prevent this ever from happening. But first, let’s look at what identity theft is, some common schemes that thieves use, and the impacts they can have on you.
When you think about it, signing up for a credit card is pretty simple. It usually takes only a few minutes. Unfortunately, that very convenience makes it easy for thieves to get away with financial fraud. A dishonest person can glean most of the details they need in just two minutes alone with your wallet. If they can see your driver’s license and social security card, they’ve got your birth date, mailing address, and SSN; which is more than enough to begin the process of identity theft.
But, you say, nobody’s seen your wallet. Today, thieves have gotten more sophisticated. For example, let’s pretend you placed a non-shredded, intact credit card offer in your garbage can. Someone could grab it, open the letter, fill it out (in your name) and even file a change of address form for the statements. While the thief has gone on a shopping spree, you would never see the bill, since it would be diverted to the new fake address. It’s not your fault, but you can’t cancel what you don’t know exists.
It may take years for the described fraud to come to your attention. By that time, a small crime could have snowballed into a major problem. Since you would be a victim of fraud, in theory, your credit score should not be harmed. But that doesn’t take into consideration the frustration, wasted time and hard work of ironing out the mess.
The best option is to prevent identity theft from ever happening. With good common sense and judicious monitoring, you can dramatically cut your chances of ever being a victim. In future postings, we will get into some of the smart ways you can protect yourself to prevent all of the above from ever happening.
If you have been the victim of identity theft and had your credit tarnished, Ovation can help. Contact us today to explain your situation and get advice from our experts. Call us at (866) 639-3426 to start repairing your credit.