Back in 2021, around 42 million people experienced identity theft. For those who are alien to this concept, identity theft takes place when someone tries to steal your identity or tries to impersonate you in different ways, which will be discussed in this article.
It can lead you to lose a lot of money because they tend to commit fraudulent activities by taking your name. Apart from the monetary cost, it takes a huge mental toll on those who are going through this.
Moreover, when someone experiences identity theft, third parties tend to lose confidence in them, and several trust issues develop as well. Seldom does anyone gets their issue of identity theft resolved, but there are many ways through which you can fight it.
So, if you have experienced something along those lines, brace yourselves because we are here to provide you with insights on what are the best ways to fight against identity theft no matter where you are or how big the issue is.
First, we need to know in what ways someone can commit identity theft as the measures to counter the activity are related to it. Listed down below are all the ways an individual can experience identity theft.
1. Gathering Personal Data
This might happen by them hacking into your social media accounts. They might ask you to click on different links to get into your accounts. They can find your information by going through stuff that you might consider trash.
Around 80% of Americans experience this every year. It can be as easy as someone getting hold of your wallet while you are shopping in a busy street.
2. Using your own Data against you
Almost every other day, we hear someone complaining about losing their ATM cards and getting calls from the bank about suspicious activities/purchases.
They can also open accounts under your name or withdraw cash from existing ones. They can talk to people you are associated with by being you. Insurance fraud is a very prominent issue of identity theft as well.
Last but definitely not least, a new trend of identity theft has been brought to sight. Thieves tend to sell your identity out in open black markets as well, through which one can make fake degrees, fake CNICs, fake passports, etc.
Now that we know the different ways through which identity theft can be committed, we shall now discuss the different ways we can fight this issue and not feel afraid. Listed below are all the measures you can take if you have been a victim of identity theft.
Measures were taken by the FBR:
The FBR has tried to take out multiple solutions for identity theft. They have come up with different abbreviations, which are listed down below.
- DETER the thieves that have stolen your identity by keeping your information as safe as possible.
- DETECT any strange activity that might be taking place in your accounts by keeping a strict eye on everything.
- DEFEND yourself by not sparing a single second by taking strict action against identity theft.
Under this, several actions can be taken. These actions have been listed down below:
- Invest in a shredder and use that for your financial documents so that your private information is not leaked.
- Your social security number is really important for you; keep that as safe as you possibly can.
- You might get spam calls from someone pretending to be your bank. Do not fall for it, and do not provide them with your private information.
- Make sure your passwords are very strong. Do not use birth dates or anything that includes your name.
- Know who you share your information with. Can they be trusted?
Under this, the measures that you can take to monitor suspicious activities are listed down below:
- If your credit card stops working when you make a transaction, then chances are they have already made the changes from their end, which you do not know of.
- If you get emails on a daily basis reporting about your transactions and suddenly that stops, you need to take some action.
- The financial statements of your accounts need a lot of reviewing because you must know all the ins and outs of your hard-earned money.
- Try using mediums like PayPal, as you get notified for every transaction.
- Be in touch with your banks about your information.
- It is wise and smart to change your passwords frequently as it would help in keeping the documents safe.
- Contact an identity theft attorney for professional help.
- If somehow your laptop is not detecting your installed Wi-Fi system or your default browser has been changed, you know what has happened.
- Recently, two-factor authentications have been introduced for all the social media accounts that you use and biometric systems for online banking, etc. This help protects your account in ways that you cannot imagine.
Every time someone tries to hack your account, you are asked for a secret code without which they cannot trespass.
- It is also wise not to keep the same password for all the accounts. This is because if one account has been hacked by them, they cannot access other accounts if the password is not the same for all.
- You should install strong software that would provide antivirus services to you. Thieves get into your accounts by sending different viruses to your applications. The antivirus programs would prevent that from happening.
Involving third parties in issues like these is very important. Before anything, you must ask your banks to keep a 90-100 days fraud alert when it comes to your credit reports.
Listed below are the contact numbers of different agencies that can help you out in this issue:
- Equifax: 800 525 6285
- SSN-Fraud: 800 269 0271
- TransUnion: 800 680 7289
- Experian: 888 269 0271
After this, if any fraudulent activity has been reported, immediately close all your respective bank accounts.
You must call the police as soon as possible as they can provide you with more information on your case which will be tailored to your circumstances as well.
Listed above are all the different ways through which identity thieves can steal your personal information and use them against you.
The different measures you can take to fight against it and the agencies you can contact to seek help on an immediate basis have also been discussed.
Do share your experience of identity theft with us in the comment section below if there is any. It would help in creating awareness.