In this microwave society, many individuals want their lives taken care of with a simple click of a button. Now, although we may wish we had a magic wand on hand to help us take care of simple tasks, that is only wishful thinking. However, I can at least offer you the next best thing. Online resources such as identity theft guides offer step by step solutions to protect your identity. They provide quality tools and tips to educate individuals and keep them safe.
1. What We Know About I.D Theft
Identity theft can be defined as the false acquisition and use of an individual’s personal information, usually for monetary gain. This can interfere with the victim’s credit, social security, banking, career, taxes, health insurance, and driver’s license, and it can even lead to false imprisonment. In other words, your whole life can be turned upside down.
2. History of Being Unprotected
Throughout American history, most forms of identity theft were connected with voter registration and had to do with ballot stuffing. Things greatly changed around the 1930’s with the 21st amendment. This law repealed Prohibition, and alcohol was once again legal. In the beginning, the legal drinking age was determined by individual states. Then, in 1984, the US Congress passed a bill requiring all states to set the drinking age at 21. Before that time, college students had been able to travel across state lines to states where the drinking age was 18 or 19. After 1984, many fake IDs began to be used in the United States.
3. Immigration Spawns Increased Fraud
The practice of using someone else’s identity became prominent with the influx of illegal immigrants in 1965 as many industries in the United States began to grow. During some eras, illegal immigration became almost irrelevant because of the policies in place allowing migrant workers to come into America during harvest seasons for certain farm labor.
Although communities and states had their own laws against migrants in America, laws were often overlooked as immigrants established themselves and contributed to communities.
After all of this, employers are now required to fill out a US Citizenship and Immigration document, known as the I-9 form, for each employee. This requires government proof of a person’s ability to work in America. In turn, authentic social security numbers and state driver’s licenses are in demand.
4. Plan of Action
Depending on what type of theft has taken place, you will need to determine your best course of action. For example, if your identity was stolen while you were patronizing a business, there are steps that need to be taken in order to resolve your identity theft. No Identity Theft offers five awesome tips for people who are affected by identity theft.
First off, the affected business should be personally contacted. So, what does that mean? No Identity Theft suggests that you should contact the company’s management or the fraud department and explain the current situation. Ask the fraud department to close, freeze and cancel the affected account. If you have been using the company’s current website, immediately change all of your online passwords, ensuring that the new passwords are strong and cannot be figured out. Next, contact all three credit bureaus and make sure you are on fraud alert. Doing this makes it harder for thieves to open more new accounts using your information. These alerts are free, can last 90 days, and can be renewed at some point.
If you are a business owner, it would be wise to also make note of anything you don’t recognize and to inform the police or the FTC. The FTC is a government agency that helps those affected by identity theft. Be sure to check all your records for any unfamiliar information. It would also be a great idea to create a free account with the FTC to start a recovery plan. Finally, file a police report that includes all the mentioned tips, because the more detailed the police report is, the more likely the police will build a case.
Remember, the only one in charge of identity is the individual affected. If you don’t have a plan of action, it’s likely that things will get worse. If you are affected by identity theft, be sure to take advantage of these tips.
5. Prevention That Works
There are many different forms of fraud prevention. The problem is figuring out what works. The main thing to consider is that you should always keep a sharp eye on your personal matters. Try to find ways to ensure your personal life is always protected. You can do this by continuing to educate yourself on these matters. Many insurance agencies, credit card companies, and the main credit bureaus offer fraud prevention solutions. One way to keep yourself safe online is to never put your personal information online.
There are many ways to connect with people online, but have you ever wondered who could possibly be looking at your account information? Never assume that online information is private when you are online. Many times, hackers use personal data to track credit and to verify accounts and service transactions.
It is also a good idea to purchase antivirus software which will keep your computer system safe. These programs can continually scan your computer for suspicious files and malware that can do damage to your computer. Also, learn to limit public wi-fi usage, because using public wi-fi can make you more susceptible to cyber criminal attack. Try to avoid internet usage at coffee shops while on a laptop or smartphone.
Finally, it is clear that the best methods are sometimes the hands-on ones. It has been proven that paper shredders and mailing your bills are ways to keep yourself safer. No Identity Theft’s website states that “88% of stolen identifying information comes from criminals going through the trash.” Are you beginning to understand and see a theme? This is one of many reasons people need to pay close attention to their overall and online surroundings.
6. Visual Charts
If words aren’t your thing, no worries. There are tons of online guides offering visual aids to make things simpler. Sometimes charts and statistics make more sense in the educational journey of learning about identity theft. These are great tools which will keep you from suffering from information overload.
You have nothing to lose by educating yourself about identity theft. This information can save you and others from having your identity stolen. I hope this will be a foundation that will help you stay safe in the long run.
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