What is Identity Theft?

identitytheftbannerIdentity theft occurs when someone else is able to obtain your private information and use it to basically steal your identity. Once someone has certain information about you, they can easily open up new credit cards and take out loans in your name. There are plenty of horror stories to read about when it comes to identity theft, but the prospect of having your own identity stolen is rather unlikely if you know how to protect yourself. As long as you are careful with your own information, you should not run into a situation where someone is able to use your identity for their own gain. So what is identity theft and when can it happen? Let’s take a look at some of the most common examples of identity theft.

Stolen Wallet/Purse

If you have recently lost your wallet or had it stolen, then you are a prime target for identity theft. Most people keep a lot of vital information stored inside their wallets, which makes a wallet a rather prime target for someone who would like to steal your identity. If your wallet has been stolen, you should contact the proper authorities as soon as possible to make sure that no damage can be done to your reputation. It is also rather smart to keep sensitive information such as your social security number in your head rather than your wallet.

Internet Scams

The Internet is definitely a hot spot when it comes to identity theft because there are plenty of people out there who do not know how to safely use a computer. Computers can offer people all kinds of amazing services when in the right

hands, but you need to be careful about the kinds of website that you trust with your information. You should always check the reputation of a website before you blindly type in your personal information because you never know who could be looking at your information if you do not check into who owns the website and what kind of security measures they use to protect your information.

Identity Theft Through the Mail

One of the types of identity theft that has been on the decline recently has been identity theft through the mail. Although most of our personal and private transactions and messages are now sent digitally, there are still moments where the postal service can leave you rather vulnerable to an attack. For example, if someone sends you a document that contains your social security number, then someone could intercept that parcel and use the information contained in it to do all kinds of damage to your life. If you are someone who sometimes get their bill or bank information sent to them by mail, you may want to think about switching to a digital option. Getting updates for personal accounts through email or the web is definitely a safer option right now, although it did not necessarily start that way when the Internet was first created.

One of the best ways to keep yourself protected from identity theft is to sign up for a reputable credit monitoring service such as Privacy Guard, Life Lock or Credit Karma.  These services will monitor and track all of your credit related activities and alert you of any unauthorized credit spending, loan applications or credit reporting errors.   For a small monthly fee, you can get peace of mind that you will not have your identity stolen and your good credit ruined.