How much do you know about identity theft and the many ways it can damage your credit?
Now is the perfect time to find out. Your favorite consumer protection groups are encouraging consumers to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions as part of National Consumer Protection Week from March 6 to 12.
More than 13 million people fall victim to identity theft a year, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.
Child Identity Theft
What you need to know: Criminals steal identifying information from schools, organizations, or their own relatives. Children often don’t find out until they are older, when they’re denied credit, housing or loans because of a poor credit history. A tainted credit report may impact their ability to secure loans, housing and work.
How to fight it: See if your child has a credit report and dispute or close any unauthorized accounts that were opened.
Medical Identity Theft
What you need to know: Criminals are increasingly targeting healthcare companies. Data breaches in the healthcare sector could expose your protected health information. Medical identity theft rose 22 percent in 2014, according to the Ponemon Institute. When a thief’s health information is mixed up with your record, it could potentially lead to deadly mistakes.
How to fight it: Always read the data privacy statement your health care provider gives you before agreeing to the terms and monitor your accounts in case of fraud.
Tax Identity Theft
What you need to know: Tax fraud through identity theft is an easy way for criminals to make money. In 2013, the IRS gave out $5.8 billion in fraudulent tax refunds, according to ABC News.
How to fight it: File your income taxes early each tax season and shred any and all documents with your personal information, and check out these helpful tips.
If you suspect you’re a victim of identity theft or wish to proactively manage your identity, check with Acadia Insurance for more information about Identity Management Services powered by IDT911. To learn more, visit www.acadiainsurance.com or call 1-800-733.4300.
Please note, the author is an employee of IDT911. Comments and opinions expressed are personal to the author.