What is identify theft and how does it occur? According to the FTC, identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal or financial information to make purchases, get benefits, file taxes, or commit fraud. It usually occurs due to a data breach where your personal information was stored somewhere and stolen. You can also become a victim if you provide your personal information to a malicious caller or if one of your personal passwords are compromised.
It is a stressful situation learning that you are a victim of identity theft, but there are steps you can take to be proactive and get protected.
- If you know the company where the fraud occurred, you should call their fraud department right away.
- Freezing your credit and other accounts when not in use.
- Change logins, passwords, and PINs.
Other recommended steps from the FTC include contacting one of the three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax) to place a free fraud alert and obtaining and reviewing your credit reports for fraudulent activity. Ultimately, identity theft should be reported to the FTC directly via identitytheft.gov and including as many details as possible. Based on the information you provide, a report and personal recovery plan will be created. Identitytheft.gov is the federal government’s one-stop resource for identity theft victims. The site provides streamlined checklists and sample letters to guide you through the recovery process.
These are just some of the ways to protect yourself against identity theft. Fraud awareness is important to our clients and to Northern Bank. Remember to check back for our latest fraud tips!