If you’ve ever spoken with someone whose identity has been stolen, you know that it is a nightmare that can continue for a long time. Repairing your credit and all of the different facets of your life that have been detrimentally affected is a daunting task. Frequently, the financial loss is so overwhelming that many people never recover. Therefore, it is important to understand how identity theft happens and what you can do to protect your credit record and your financial future.
It took a substantial amount of time, but finally the Federal government recognized that something must be done to protect Americans. Legislation has been passed that punishes identity theft more severely than previously, although many believe that it still does not go far enough.
Essentially, when someone steals your identity, they pass themselves off as you. With the right amount of personal information, they can apply for credit cards, personal loans, and perhaps even a mortgage. There have been even more brazen attempts—to secure valuables such as automobiles, jewelry, or real estate.
There are lots of ways thieves can get your private information. Here are a few of the many methods used:
- “Shoulder surfing”: As the name implies, thieves watch everything you provide to another individual or enter into a machine such as an ATM.
- “Dumpster diving”: This is a crude nickname for combing through trash in order to find any hint of information about you.
- Pulling information off the Internet: If you enter private information on an unsecured website, you are at risk because a hacker could retrieve it.
Your first concern should be to protect all of your personal information. There are many items that come under the heading of “how to protect yourself” so that your identity cannot be stolen. And there are many responses that come under the heading of “It happened, now what do I do”? And of equal importance is the question, “Who can I contact in case it happens to me”?
In the end you should learn the secrets of what prevents identity theft so that it will not happen to you.