Identity Theft – What’s The Big Deal?

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Identity Theft – What’s The Big Deal?

Many people who have traveled around the world have faced the horror of a stolen or lost wallet. Even just going to a nearby mall makes one vulnerable to having a wallet stolen or misplaced. The days that thieves were satisfied with having the money in your wallet are gone. In this new era, their greatest benefit is stealing your identity.

How do they do it? Once the thief gets ahold of your personal information, they gain access to your personal finances and private life. Then they can use your accounts, as if they were you.

You’d be surprised to see the harm that can be done even just by using your full name and date of birth. If you disclose your Social Security Number or credit cards, it also allows the thief to charge your cards, transfer money from your account and create debts.

While old fashion identity thieves would use whatever they could find in your wallet, the advanced ones have a variety of more sophisticated methods to get ahold of your information, including:

  1. Looking at your unshared personal documents, those that you were “sure you have put in the garbage”.
  2. Pretending to be financial institutions, valid companies or any other type of false presence to get you reveal your personal information. Common methods would be sending spam emails, phone calls or on-line pop-ups.
  3. Stealing credit card details by connecting it to a separate storage device when processing your card. The most common example is while filling up a gas tank.

Getting ahold of your money is only one unpleasant outcome of identity theft. The long lasting outcome is damaging your credibility in the eyes of the banking system. Once your identity is stolen, there is a high likelihood that you’ll start defaulting on your credit commitments and your ranking will go downhill. In that case, you won’t be able to get a mortgage, buy a car or even get a cell phone.

Reacting quickly and in the most efficient way is the best way to avoid identity loss.

All you need to prevent an identity theft is to go through the following simple steps in this recommended order, the same day you discover it:

  1. Make a list of all credit cards and important documents you had in your wallet.
  2. Contact all your credit card companies and report your cards lost or stolen. This way the thief won’t be able to use your cards.*
  3. Go to a nearby police station and file a complaint, so the theft will be documented.
  4. Call Equifax and Trans Union, the main credit bureaus, to report the theft. This way you’ll be covered in case this has started damaging your credit score.
  5. Notify your bank in order to protect any assets you have there.

*You may order new cards, driver license etc. when you have completed all five steps.

A lost wallet can be a stressful event and can cause many problems, including identity theft. Protecting yourself is essential. Keep in mind that even if you just recently saw that your identity was misused, there are ways to recover your credit score. It may require some time and effort, but it can be done. Please contact us, we are here to support you.

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