Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information to commit fraud. Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can do a lot of damage to your finances and financial reputation. Identity theft puts your bank account and credit cards, even your health insurance and tax return, at serious risk.
But how do thieves even get hold of your information? And what steps can you take to prevent them from doing so?
Armed Forces Bank is here to provide professional insight on how you can spot a scam and keep your funds secure.
How Thieves & Scammers Get Your Information
Many scammers and thieves randomly generate mobile numbers or email addresses—that’s why you may have received fraudulent texts or emails that appear to be from banks you don’t have an account with. They also:
- Hack computer systems to sell their personal information.
- Steal information from a business or the trash.
- Trick you into revealing your information through phishing scams.
- Take your purse or wallet.
- Pretend to offer you a job, loan, or housing to obtain your information.
- Purchase lists of mailing addresses.
- Obtain mobile numbers and email addresses from online web pages, auctions, chat rooms, and directories or illegitimate sources.
Preventing Identity Theft
There are many ways you can help keep your personal information from thieves and scammers:
- Carefully review and look for mistakes on bank and credit statements, as well as Explanations of Medical Benefits.
- Know when your payment due dates are. If a bill doesn't show up when expected, look into it.
- Respond to IRS notices quickly. Watch out for notices about accounts in your child's name.
- Examine all statements. Ensure the list of claims that were paid matches the care you received.
- Shred any documents with personal and financial information.
- Review each of your three free credit reports at least once a year. Learn how to order and review them in our article "Viewing Credit Reports."
- Add multi-step authentication to your accounts and devices wherever available to ensure safer access.
- Be cautious of online impersonators. You can learn how to spot them in our article "Scams & Fraud."
- Protect your computer with strong passwords, firewalls, encryptions, antivirus, and anti-spyware.
- Beware of calls from debt collectors about a debt that isn't yours.
For more tips on dealing with identity theft, visit ftc.gov/idtheft.