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Types of Identity Theft

Identity theft can take many forms. Potential ramifications depend on the aims of bad actors and the personally identifiable information, or “PII,” that was compromised in the identity theft. However, some commonalities in identity theft can be identified.

Be on the lookout for these common types of identity theft:

Common Identity Theft Warning Signs

How do you know if your identity is compromised? Keep an eye out for these identity theft warning signs – and act immediately if you notice any of them!

Did you notice one or more of these warning signs in your finances? Read What To Do if Your Identity Is Stolen below for tips on what to do next.

What Is Identity Theft Protection?

The term “identity theft protection” covers a range of proactive measures you can take to help safeguard your personal and financial information from unauthorized access and fraud.

The best identity theft protection practices can include:

We discuss all the above and more in our guide How to Prevent Identity Theft: 8 Best Identity Theft Protection Tips

Why Is It Important To Have Identity Theft Protection?

When it comes to guarding against identity theft, good habits go a long way. Protecting your identity can help mitigate financial loss. If this happens, catching identity theft attempts early can protect your credit standing by stopping fraudsters before they do significant damage.

Proactively protecting your identity can reduce the time, effort, and potential cost involved in disrupting fraud and recovering from identity theft. Improving your security measures — both online and offline! — can also reduce your vulnerability to phishing, hacking, and other identity theft methods.

Keep your peace of mind by establishing a strong defense against the increasing threat of identity theft.

Identity theft defense

What To Do if Your Identity Is Stolen

If you discover that your identity has been compromised, it’s important to act quickly.

In the US, you should alert your banks, credit card issuers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) right away to minimize damage.

You’ll also want to change the passwords to any secure online accounts that may have been compromised.

Finally, keep detailed records of any communications related to the identity theft incident for legal purposes. This can include phone calls and emails with financial institutions, law enforcement, and more. You may not need it all, but it’s better to be prepared.

How To Report Identity Theft

As soon as you realize you’ve been the victim of identity theft, consider taking these steps:

Note: Contact your local police precinct for guidance on how to file a police report for identity theft. Police departments typically have dedicated phone numbers for non-emergency situations, and that’s what you’ll want to use in most cases.

How To Put a Freeze on Your Credit Report

Did you notice some suspicious activity? Contact each of the three major credit bureaus to request a credit freeze, effectively preventing any new credit accounts from being opened in your name. Freezing your credit is free and can be lifted at any time using a PIN or password provided by the relevant credit bureaus.

Just remember that while a credit freeze offers strong protection against fraud, it will require some management, such as temporarily lifting the freeze when you’re applying for credit yourself.

Consider an Identity Theft Recovery Service

Identity theft is complicated, and it’s always evolving, so you may want to consider signing up for a reputable identity theft recovery service. These services specialize in guiding identity theft victims through the recovery process. Some also offer legal and financial assistance.

Shopping around for a service? Look for services that offer direct assistance with disputing fraudulent charges and accounts, as well as helping restore your credit. You might also consider plans that cover out-of-pocket costs related to identity theft recovery, which can be considered additional financial protection.

This article is for informational purposes only.

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