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?
Academy 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 thieves and scammers randomly generate email addresses or mobile numbers—that’s why you may have received fraudulent emails or texts that appear to be from banks you do not have an account with. They also:
- Hack computer systems and then sell personal information.
- Steal information from trash or a business.
- Trick you into revealing information through phishing scams.
- Take your wallet or purse.
- Pretend to offer a job, loan, or apartment to obtain your information.
- Purchase mailing lists.
- Obtain email addresses and mobile numbers online from web pages, chat rooms, online auctions, and directories or from illegitimate sources.
Preventing Identity Theft
There are many easy ways you can help keep your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.
Check out Academy Bank's recommendations for preventing identity theft:
- Carefully read and watch for mistakes on bank, credit, and account statements, as well as Explanations of Medical Benefits.
- Know your payment due dates. If a bill doesn't show up when you expect it, look into it.
- Respond quickly to IRS notices. Watch out for IRS notices about accounts in your child's name.
- Examine all statements from your health insurance plan. Make sure the claims paid match the care you got.
- Shred any documents with personal and financial information.
- Review each of your three credit reports at least once a year. It's easy, and it's free. Learn how to order and review credit reports here.
- Add multi-step authentication to your accounts and devices wherever available to ensure safer access.
- Add an authentication step to your accounts and devices that offer the feature to ensure safer access.
- Protect your computer and mobile devices with strong passwords, encryptions, firewalls, antivirus, and anti-spyware.
- Beware for calls from debt collectors about a debt that isn't yours.