Why Everyone Fears Identity Theft
What Is Identity Theft?
Before you can understand why everyone fears identity theft you need to first understand what identity theft is. Simply put, it means that the security of your personal information was breached and your social security number, driver license number, credit card numbers, and, or insurance information has been stolen. The thieves then use that personal information of yours to steal your identity and in the process alter, tarnish and abuse your reputation plus destroy your finances.
The damages that identity thieves can inflict upon their victims is astronomical, hence the deep fear of identity theft. These thieves become you. They rack up huge credit card bills in your name; open up new bank accounts to take out loans, again in your name, and they even file your tax returns to collect the refunds. If a thief gets ahold of your debit card they can wipe your accounts out.
Does Identity Theft Protection Help?
Yes, and no. Identity theft protection only helps to clean up after the fact. Identity theft protection does not stop thieves from stealing your personal information to use for their own benefit or sell on the internet. Nor can it stop thieves from hacking large national databases such as the U.S Government Office of Personnel Management, health insurance companies (ie) Anthem and Blue Cross or retail stores such as Home Depot, Target and Neiman Marcus.
Identity theft protection services will help you rebuild your tarnished reputation, help you call your creditors, arrange to have credit freezes placed on your credit cards. These protection services will help speed up the time it takes to put you back where you started before your identity was stolen. And it does take many, many hours to rebuild, so in that respect identity theft protection services are a good thing.
How To Report Identity Theft
If you have been a victim of identity theft you need to notify, notify, notify.
If your credit or debit card has been stolen, notify your card issuer and bank. Have a fraud alert and credit freeze on placed on your cards. File an identity theft police report. Order new credit reports for free from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Transunion, Equifax and Experian).
If your health insurance has been fraudulently used contact your health insurance company, notify the credit bureaus, file a police report, get copies of your records from your medical providers, work with your insurance company and medical provider.
If the IRS notifies you that you have already filed and received your tax refund, do not delay, contact the IRS immediately.
Identity theft should not be taken lightly, it has become a serious problem. Based on the time, effort and frustration that identity theft victims experience if anyone were to make an identity theft movie, it would be a horror movie, and that’s for real.