- Financial identity theft is the most common type of identity theft
- Early detection is key to minimizing damage from identity theft
- There are measures you can take to help protect yourself
Whether it ’ s a stolen recognition card or Social Security number or a wholly stolen identity, odds are you or person you know has been affected by identity larceny .
In 2018, an estimated 14.4 million people in the U.S. were victims of some kind of identity imposter, according to Javelin Research.
Reading: Types of Identity Theft | Equifax®
So what are the most common types of identity theft/fraud ? And how can you better protect yourself against being a victim ? here are some common types defined, and some actions you might consider to combat them :
Financial identity theft. This is the most coarse form of identity larceny — when person uses another person ‘s data for fiscal advance. For example, a fraudster may use your bank account or recognition batting order numbers to steal money or make purchases, or use your Social Security number to open a new credit tease .
What you can do: Check your bills, accounts and statements regularly. Some criminals may start by making modest recognition or debit charges in hopes you do n’t notice them, so review the statements carefully. If you see a charge you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate recognize, contact your trust or credit menu company .
In the case of new accounts created in your list, you may not receive a bill or statement. Placing a security freeze or a annual initial imposter alarm on your citation reports may help prevent access to open fresh accounts. Visit our security freeze page to learn how to place a security freeze on your Equifax credit report card .
In addition, check your credit reports from each of the three countrywide credit rating agency – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – for any accounts you don ’ thyroxine accredit. You ’ re entitled to a dislodge copy of your credit report from each agency once a year through www.annualcreditreport.com. You can besides create a myEquifax account to get six barren Equifax recognition reports each class. In summation, you can click “ Get my free credit sexual conquest ” on your myEquifax splashboard to enroll in Equifax Core Credit ™ for a spare monthly Equifax credit report. ( You ‘ll besides get a free monthly VantageScore® 3.0 credit mark, based on Equifax data. A VantageScore is one of many types of credit scores. )
You might besides consider a citation monitor service that will notify you of key changes to your accredit reports .
Tax identity theft. This type of identity larceny involves fraudsters getting access to your personal information, which is then used to file a tax reappearance and get a refund – your refund .
What you can do: Be alert for call calls, text and emails purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS will not contact consumers using these methods, and won ’ thyroxine threaten legal action. Never provide any personal information in answer to an unasked telephone shout, electronic mail, social media message or text message .
If you find your tax recurrence is rejected because person has filed a tax return in your mention already, contact the IRS. You may need to file a fraud claim and receive a PIN to use on future tax returns. In addition, if person has filed a tax return in your appoint, that means they already have at least some of your personal information. You might want to review your citation reports cautiously and consider placing a security freeze on them .
Medical identity theft. In medical identity larceny, a fraudster will use your personal data to receive medical caution in your name .
What you can do: Review any Explanation of Benefits statements you receive from your health policy for any mistakes or unfamiliar charges. If you see any, report them to your insurance company. Check with your doctor to ensure your medical records are accurate. If you start getting bills for aesculapian services you didn ’ triiodothyronine receive, call the provider and dispute them.
Treat your medical identity the like way as you would any other sensitive data. And be aware of scammers who may contact you about a “ late rupture ” and attempt to get your personal information .
Employment identity theft. Identity thieves may use your data to get a speculate or pass a background hindrance .
What you can do: Be wary of any potential employers asking for credit or trust explanation information for the purposes of a background check, peculiarly if they have n’t interviewed you yet. In accession, be leery of any communication from a personal e-mail address alternatively of a company e-mail. The federal government ’ s E-Verify web site can show you all the employers that have checked your records, so you can see if there are any unfamiliar ones. The Federal Trade Commission ( FTC ) has more information on employment identity larceny and E-Verify .
Child identity theft. Most children under 16 don ’ t have credit reports, so it ’ s possible for a fraudster to open credit accounts in their diagnose undetected. Some child identity larceny victims may not learn of the natural process until they apply for student loans or a job .
What you can do: Check with the three nationally credit chest of drawers to see if your child has a credit report. If sol, you can file an FTC Identity Theft Report and take other carry through, such as placing a security freeze on your child ’ s accredit report or locking it. See more from the FTC on child identity larceny .
Senior identity theft. Senior citizens may be peculiarly vulnerable to identity larceny because they may be more hope and less able to recognize a victimize. The types of identity larceny they may face are the same as anyone else : fiscal identity larceny, tax identity larceny and aesculapian identity larceny, for example .
What you can do: Encourage the elder citizens you know to place a security freeze on their credit reports or lock them, peculiarly if they don ’ t need access to credit on a regular basis .
Estate identity theft: This occurs when a fraudster uses the personal information of a die person to steal money or open accounts .
What you can do: Make certain the three nationally credit agency topographic point a “ death notice ” on the person ’ mho credit reports after person ’ sulfur death. See this article on other credit steps to consider after a relative ’ randomness death .
Criminal identity theft: All identity larceny is criminal, but this particular type means person who is arrested provides your information to law enforcement. You wouldn ’ thymine be able to detect this until consequences arise – a speed slate goes unpaid, for example, and a judge issues a bench warrant for your check .
What you can do: Consider limiting the amount of personal data you partake on social media, as you never know who might access it. If you are a victim of criminal identity larceny, contact law enforcement immediately. The Identity Theft Resource Center has some other data about condemnable identity larceny.
Synthetic identity theft: In synthetic identity larceny, fraudsters can create fake identities using fudge or real information, or a combination of the two. For exemplify, an identity thief might use a real Social Security count but use a diagnose that ’ s not associated with that count. Children and deceased people can be vulnerable since their Social Security numbers typically aren ’ metric ton actively used .
What you can do: regularly check your credit reports, adenine well as those belonging to seniors and, if applicable, your children. Consider an identity monitor servicing which scans the “ night network ” for Social Security numbers that may have been accessed. You might besides consider a placing a security freeze on credit reports .
With any type of identity larceny, a key to minimizing damage is detecting it early. Checking your citation reports, credit rating card and bank statements is one way to spot any fishy action and take contiguous action .