Imagine opening your bank statement one day to find your balance is much lower than expected. If you discover charges on your account that you didn’t authorize, you’ve likely been the victim of identity theft. Criminals are always finding new ways to get a hold of your personal information and use it for nefarious purposes. Residents across Arizona have experienced this crime firsthand. Protect yourself by putting some of the tips in this article into action.
Data Breaches from Big to Small
A person digging through your trash can find a lot of personal information. However, most identity theft happens after a big digital data breach. Hackers break into a system full of names, addresses, and credit card numbers and sell that data on the Dark Web. Anyone interested in using your identity can buy the data for just a few hundred dollars. Large scale hacks like the Capital One problem found in June 2019 affect millions of people. With so many big breaches over the years, almost everyone’s data is available somewhere on the Dark Web. You can take action to protect yourself regardless.
Protect Your Information
First, keep protecting your identity as if it hasn’t been compromised. Don’t get careless just because your information is already posted somewhere. If you know there’s been a leak, change anything you can. For example, leaked passwords and usernames are easy to update. Sign up for a credit monitoring service that notifies you of any changes to your credit report. This helps you spot accounts opened under your name and other uses of your identity. If there are attempts to use your identity, you can freeze your credit report so no one can borrow in your name. New accounts will be refused, and you can turn off the freeze temporarily whenever needed.
Stop Attempts at Use
Have a plan of action ready if you discover signs someone’s using your identity. In addition to freezing your credit, you may need to call your local police and work with out-of-state investigators. The Federal Trade Commission also offers assistance in case of identity theft. You can report your situation to them, and they will investigate for you. Call the three credit bureaus as well. Aside from a credit freeze, these companies can flag existing fraudulent use so it’s not included in your report. Identity theft may seriously damage your credit unless you catch these charges early and dispute them.
Consider Identity Theft Insurance
Most forms of insurance cover the cost of lost property. For example, home insurance pays to replace your belongings after a fire or theft. Identity theft insurance works a little differently. The policy pays for any costs related to securing your identity after a theft. If you need to pay expensive discovery fees from your bank to find out who accessed your account, the insurance policy is likely to cover it. Since identity theft can lead to empty bank accounts and maxed credit cards, this kind of coverage is valuable when you need it the most. Identity theft insurance is an affordable way to protect yourself.
Don’t let identity theft scare you. With the right tools, you can face any kind of data breach. Reach out to us here at Harnish Insurance Group if you’re interested in learning more about identity theft insurance. We can pair you with the right insurance to give you peace of mind. Call or email us today for more information.