Everyone should be aware of how to maintain a clean, secure credit profile, safe from identity theft. These days, it is not uncommon to hear about issues with hackers and identify thieves. This is frightening to the average person, but what you may not know is that it can cause problems with your credit score. A stolen identity can destroy all areas of your life, ruining many different aspects of living.
Identity theft involves anything to do with your credit or identity, sans your knowing about it. All your private information could be used by someone illegally. From credit score and history to private transactions and documents, these can all be used by someone with unpleasant intentions. All the more reason why you should obtain your annual free credit report not just from one credit bureau, but from all 3 bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian – which you have the right to once an year. Recent studies have shown that a minimum of 10 million Americans have had their identities stolen in the past year, indicating a rising trend that is certainly a bad sign. Some refer to this as fraud, which comes in two types. Each type has its own style of theft.
Financial fraud involves up to 25 different types of internet fraud, but there are offline versions, as well. These include refund fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud and computer or telecommunication fraud, as well as credit card fraud. However, this is not the only type to affect people. Criminals can also use your identity to commit crimes, thus destroying your reputation. This may be as simple as getting into another country using your name and ID, or as serious as committing crimes and getting involved in terrorist sects. Crimes include smuggling illegal aliens, cyber crime, laundering money and selling drugs, among many others. All of these leave you with a bad name, while the original criminal gets off and finds someone else to steal from.
Just how does this type of theft come about? It is not merely from surfing the internet nor banking online. The majority of people who are victims have had their information poorly handled online. Sending documents through the internet leaves a special footprint and internet hackers can easily find these leaks when things are not done securely. Online tracking and logging keyboard movements are two of the more common methods of getting information. Since it is relatively easy to capture all the personal info necessary from the documents and online browsing, it makes it quite simple for identity thieves to take over your life, ruining many areas of it.
Internet fraud takes many victims every year. Anyone can be hit and even those who feel they do not stand out in a crowd should be careful to protect themselves. Identity theft can hit anytime and anywhere, but you can protect yourself by taking steps to avoid common problems. Avoid leaving any personal documents out and about, as these can be treasure troves for identity thieves. Instead, shred any paper evidence from banks, credit card companies, and even receipts. Unwanted signed checks need to be destroyed, as well. All of this can help you avoid problems with your identity and credit profile. There are many problems that come from this type of thievery, so avoid it at all costs.