Identity theft used to be an event out of the movies, something that only happened in a Hollywood blockbuster spy flick. Unfortunately it’s a relatively common crime. It seems as though we all know someone who has found additional charges on their credit card, or has had someone attempt to access their bank account. That’s because we probably do – 1 in 20 Americans have been victims of identity theft. As social networks continue to proliferate, and users share personal information including birth dates, thieves have increased opportunities to guess passwords.
As the numbers of those impacted by this crime continue to rise, it seems increasingly likely that we’ll all be personally touched by this violation of privacy. While it might seem easy to think ‘I’ll deal with it when it happens,’ you can save yourself a lot of grief and anxiety by planning ahead.
Having a strategy will ensure that you have a plan of attack if you become a victim. It will provide you with a list of people to contact and tasks to accomplish, helping you think rationally when your emotions are running high. While specifics on who to contact may change by geographic region, these two resources have tips on how to avoid being victimized and what steps to take if you are.
Identity Theft and Identity Fraud – This site from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police explains identity fraud and gives tips on how to avoid it and what to do if you’ve been impacted.
The U.S. Department of Justice also has a page on identity theft and fraud, providing details for what American citizens can do if they become a victim.
Do you have any tips on protecting your identity from theft? Let us know in the comments below.