According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, approximately one-third of Americans have been victims of identity theft. Identity theft is a broad category that encompasses everything from stolen credit card numbers that result in fraudulent charges to crimes that involve another person actually taking on your identity. There is no way to ensure that identity theft will never happen to you. Also, there is a good chance it already has. Instead of hoping for the best, take action to ensure that identity theft does not happen to you again.
Do not wait for the next banking day or a convenient time to report credit card theft. Call the number on the back of your card as soon as possible to report the suspected theft. In almost all cases, it is better to be safe than sorry. Report suspected theft, even if you do not have evidence handy at the moment. Report other types of identity theft, such as passport theft, to all entities that matter. These include:
Simply inform businesses that your information was compromised, and come up with a solution to the problem before it becomes a larger problem.
Often, it is difficult to detect identity theft until damage has already been done. It is important to consult with an expert. Other entities might need to know about the theft, and a variety of evidence might need to be presented to clear your name. It is not hopeless to get your identity back. However, it is typically costly and time consuming.
Identity theft can happen anywhere. You cannot reasonably expect to never make a mistake or fall victim to a random crime. However, you can learn more about how pieces of identifying information work. You have chips in all cards, passports, and state-issued identification cards (driver’s licenses, ID cards). Criminals have gotten smart. They know that they can get away with theft more readily if they do not physically take your wallet. Invest in a card to scramble the signals that the chips in your existing cards give off. A few other easy ways to protect your identity include the following:
It is unreasonable to never bring your wallet in a crowded place or never carry your ID with you. However, you can take a few easy measures to prevent identity theft. If you do fall victim to identity theft, be proactive. The problem will almost never solve itself. Address the issue, and come up with a plan to protect yourself for the future.