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Learn more about life insurance with these useful materials
 


Life Resources


Learn more about life insurance with these useful materials
 

July 22, 2022 // All General // Statistics

Identity Theft is Not a Joke: What You Need to Know

In a world with billions of people in it, there’s no one else quite like you. It’s more critical than ever that your identity is protected – but what exactly does that mean, and what should you do to protect your financial future from theft? Let’s start by examining the problem closely.

What is identity theft?

By definition, identity theft is when someone takes another individual’s personal information and uses it for their own gain without permission. As our financial fingerprints become increasingly important to day-to-day life, the risk of theft of these personal details grows: 47% of Americans experienced some form of financial identity theft in 2020, while nine in 10 encountered a fraud attempt in the previous year1. But what data is at risk and why?

Thieves can use your information to:

  • Open fraudulent credit cards and insurance policies in your name
  • Access your bank accounts and credit cards to make purchases and steal your savings
  • File phony insurance claims
  • Sell your information to others

How do I prevent identity theft?

There are many different types of identity theft, and while there is no way to protect yourself perfectly, there are ways that you and the companies you do business with can better safeguard your data.

Protect your data

What kind of information is important to protect? Generally, you’ll want to keep an eye on anything about you or your household that’s personally identifiable, such as account numbers, logins, and any other information a person could use to pretend to be you. Below are some ways thieves can access and use these details, and tips on how to avoid them.

  1. Swiping passwords and security questions – questions on social media like “what was your first car?” may seem harmless, but can give thieves the tools they need to crack into accounts they shouldn’t be in.
     
  2. Mail theft – paper isn’t perfect. Be sure to collect your mail regularly, and shred any identifying information prior to recycling the material.
     
  3. Phishing and hacking – some thieves may pretend to be a company you already do business with to get you to provide personal information under false pretenses. Don’t use public WiFi networks to conduct personal business and analyze incoming emails carefully, including small spelling or style differences in the sender’s email address; when in doubt, call the business to confirm the authenticity of the communication.
     
  4. Phone theft – Your phone is smart and it knows a lot about you. Protect it by locking it with a password or fingerprint in case the phone is ever stolen or lost.
Bring in backup

Along with staying alert against risks, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from identity theft is to use companies you know and trust to conduct your personal financial business. At AAA Life, we care about your data like you do. That’s why we only ask the questions we need to, to be sure we’re working with the real you (and your real beneficiary if a claim is made on your policy.

You can also employ third-party services to help keep an eye on your credit and more.

How do I report identity theft?

There’s no way to completely prevent identity theft, so what should you do if it happens to you? That depends on what type of identity theft you’ve experienced.

If your credit card or bank account is compromised, alert your financial institution immediately and they can help cancel or lock any compromised cards and accounts to prevent further theft.

Identity theft is a crime and should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Visit identitytheft.gov to file a report and read more about the steps you can take depending on what type of fraud or theft has occurred.

It may sound intimidating, but by staying vigilant and acting quickly in the event of a breach you can help protect your financial future from identity theft.

 

 

1Bekker, Eugene. What are your odds of getting your identity stolen? Identity Force. April 15, 2021.

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