When another person somehow gets your credit card information and uses it, leaving you to take care of paying for it without your permission, it is called identity theft.
Identity theft is more than having someone run around spending and acting as though they were you. In fact, someone can go about running your line of credit sky high, or take your money from your bank without ever being seen. Actually, not ever being seen while stealing your identity is a lot easier than you think.
Hacking someone’s computer is considered in the same category as account take over, whereas they may be stealing your PayPal personal information, such as your passwords and account numbers. Once someone gets a hold of these, they will have no problem draining you dry.
Identity theft has become quite common. The damage that can occur to someone from identity theft varies. It can cause financial hardship, credit issues, issues ever getting credit again, and even mental and health problems, depending on the circumstances.
Here’s the worst scenario of identity theft:
- Due to the identity theft, there was a crime committed in your name and you were arrested.
- Clearing everything up after identity theft can take a long time to straightened out.
- Identity theft causes financial hardship, and thousands of dollars more to be repaired.
- Having an arrest on your record can make it hard to get a job.
- Identity theft can destroy reputations.
- Getting loans will not be so easy.
How identity theft happens
It’s no longer the way it was back in the day when identity theft meant someone stole your purse or wallet, or maybe took personal information from your trash. In today’s world full of technology, the people who steal other people’s identity doesn’t even have to be in the same state as them. Nowadays, the majority of identity thefts happen in cyberspace and can be manipulated and completed through computers.
An example would be you getting an email from someone imposing as your bank, they say you need to send certain information to straighten out a misunderstanding with your account, and you give it to them. Another way these scammers get to you is through malicious links and/or websites. They may have you click on a link saying it will take you to a certain site or show you something, such as a nude picture, having you download it. As soon as you do, you have got yourself a virus.
There are several different ways that you can have your identity stolen. Another way could be by using your credit card when purchasing items. The retailer that you buy your items from could be stealing your information without even knowing about it. This is neither your nor the retailer’s fault, it just happens all the time.
The following steps can help you to protect yourself from identity theft:
- Install latest browser (Edge, FireFox, Chrome) and always stay updated.
- Learn how to tell when it may be a scam and don’t take any chances.
- Your passwords should be unique, long, and very confusing (for everybody but you).
- Keep tabs on your credit report for any false information.
- Shop online only on sites you know and trust.
- Always report when you are missing your snail mail bills. It could be a sign that a thief changed your billing address.
- Protect your identity by encrypting all personal information.
Always take it as a hint not to get the credit card when you receive mail that says you are pre-approved, especially when it has a high interest rate.