Identity theft is a crime done by stealing someone’s personal and financial information and using it without their will. Identity thieves use the data to;
- Apply for loans and credit cards
- Use target’s credit cards
- Steal from bank accounts
- Fraud tax return application
- Sell the data to someone else for personal benefits
The first and foremost thing to do for protection from Identity theft is collecting information about what it is and the modus operandi of thieves. This way, you can make it hard for criminals to access your information and personal accounts.
Identity Theft By Definition:
The name itself is self-explanatory, i.e., stealing identity. The criminals slip away your sensitive information and use it illegally to pretend to be you. They can draw off your bank account or use your information to attain medical treatments, utility services, or shopping in general. These criminals give away your name and information to get away.
They fraudulently deceive people to be you, which can leave you damaged financially and leave a destructive impact on your reputation. It is not possible that they will use a GPS location tracker to track your child. Hence, It is wise to save yourself and your loved ones from getting mugged by an identity thief.
Understanding Identity Theft:
When we say that identity thieves steal your personal information, it means that they find and use your private details. They search through trash bins to see bank statements containing highly confidential data and not by SMS tracker app to check your text messages.
An advanced way to steal corporate information is to access their databases by a tech-savvy person. Such people intelligently;
- Hack other people’s computers
- Hack computer networks
- Access discarded hard drives
- Access public records held in computers
- Use malware to infect computers to gather required information
- Hack social media accounts
- Send deceiving emails or messages.
Types of Identity Theft:
There are 6 primary kinds of theft;
1. Social Security Identity Theft:
Stealer uses your information to get a hold on things, services, benefits, and credit. Social security numbers are essential information for an individual. Thieves use this information to get loans and credit cards and don’t pay the bills. With the best parental control software at hand, check if your child is leaving behind any financial trail online.
2. Medical Identity Theft:
Fraudsters use your information to pretend to be you and get free medical care or benefits. Parental monitoring software can help save from child identity thieves.
3. Synthetic Identity Theft:
Such thieves are masters in hiding their personalities and deceiving people by making up new ones. They steal your information and mesh it with fake data to create a new one. These criminals open new accounts and purchase things.
4. Child Identity Theft:
It is a severe form of theft. A person cashes the information of a child to get loans or find a residence. These criminals are generally family friends, family members, or someone close to a child. Even some cases reported that fraudsters used the information of deceased loved ones.
5. Tax Identity Theft:
Cheaters file the bogus tax returns of the person whose identity they have stolen, then collects the refunds in their name.
6. Criminal Identity Theft:
Criminal identity theft is when a person uses someone else’s information to avoid arrest summons or warrants. Criminals also use data to avoid arrest or conviction records in their names. A criminal can hack the phone contacts of your child to know people from their list and pretend to know them.
Actions If You Are Victim Of Identity Theft:
God forbid if you become a victim of identity theft, you should take a few steps immediately.
Call The Companies:
Immediately contact the fraud department of the company in which fraud has occurred. After explaining the scenario, ask them to freeze the account. Change the login passwords or PIN codes.
Report At FTC:
Report the theft at the FTC website or call their number, including maximum details possible. FTC will generate a report for you with a recovery plan.
Report At Local Police Department:
Take a copy of the FTC report, national ID card, a photo, and proof of your address like utility bills, rental, or mortgage statement. Take along with you proof of theft, e.g., unknown bills in your name, IRS notices, etc.
Use an SMS tracker app to know if your child has reported any file or not.
5 Tips for Parents:
Using cell phone monitoring app may inform you after something terrible has happened. However, you can make sure of 5 things that will minimize the possibilities of identity theft. Read on to know them.
1. Freeze You Credit And Set Alerts:
Parents should inform their kids about the freezing of credit. It is free, and you can unfreeze it anytime. A thief will be unable to open a new account without your information. Parents can freeze the credit of their children under 16 by providing the required data to the bureau along with the proof of your ground as an authorized person to freeze the child’s credit.
When finances are involved, companies send out alerts to their users in text or Email when any transaction or activity occurs. So consider enrolling alerts of financial accounts.
2. Stay Vigilant to Phishing And Protect Your Privacy:
Phishing scams are prevalent these days. It includes;
- Sending Emails that seem to be legitimate
- A call that claims to be from a government or business official
- Fake text messages
- Fake websites
Ask your child to never open any unknown links or attachments in the Email, text or website. They may be containing malware that collects your sensitive data. Or never give out passwords, PINs, etc. Instead, make a direct call to the concerned department for verification. As for the call, ask them to hang up and call back the said department to verify if they have called or some fake person is projecting them. Malware links can hack phone contacts to check the contact list.
Use banking apps instead of browsers. No authentic organization like a bank, credit card company or IRS will call a person to ask for their personal information over the phone.
3. Use Passwords:
It is healthy to use a distinctive and complex password for your accounts. Avoid reusing passwords and stop relying on security questions. With the active use of social media, it is no longer hard to find your first pet’s name. A mobile without a password is like a home without doors. Protect your mobile devices with passwords to protect your financial accounts or private data from falling into the wrong hands.
4. Regular Reports Checking:
It is the easiest method to steal your identity. Avoid leaving your mail in the mailbox, use a lockable mailbox or ask your trusted person to collect them in your absence. Use a GPS location tracker on your child and remind them to ensure mail safety before leaving town. Try to limit paper mail and shift to the e-statement of your financial accounts. Get used to checking your reports daily;
5. Credit Reports:
Signup for free weekly or annual credit reports and receive an alert of any changes made. Credit reports include all activities of your financial accounts and balances. If you suspect any unauthorized account in your report, address it immediately with the concerned department.
6. Financial Statements:
It is vital to read financial statements to avoid discrepancies like reading credit reports. Check every transaction and look for any unfamiliarity.
7. Habit Of Shredding And Using Digital Wallet:
Make a habit of shredding your physical documents, especially credit card statements or other financial statements. Such statements are helpful for identity thieves as they contain your social security number and bank details. Criminals go through the trash to collect any private record which holds your sensitive information. Use a cheap shredder to shred documents before disposing them off. Likewise, the retail receipts and ATM receipts are also used in the same way, therefore don’t throw them away publicly.
Digital wallets are the contactless transitions that became popular during a pandemic. But they are also beneficial as a more secure version of debit or credit cards.
You may not know that your accounts have been compromised. Educate your child that their identity can be compromised if they take it lightly, and they may suffer grievously. Taking preventive measures of personal information safety will limit identity thieves from approaching you. Checking your credit and bank reports regularly, keeping a complex and secure password, and freezing your credit are steps to prevent data leakage. Stay vigilant with phishing scams. Use an authentic parental control software to check if your child complies with all protection tips.