Identity Theft – Protecting Yourself

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Tips on protecting yourself and what to do it you are compromised

Of course you do not want to get in the position of losing your identity.  I certainly hope it never happens to you or anyone you know.  Recently it did happen to someone that asked for my help, and honestly I just never really put much thought into it.  What do you do?

Going back to how people often get into this situation they are unsure of how someone got their information in the first place.  Hopefully you have taken some basic measures on how to protect yourself and your family by reading my previous posts.

Keeping Passwords Safe

SPAM!

Protecting against Malware

2FA Two Factor Authenticator

Seems like most of the banks and credit cards out there now offer some sort of insight into your credit score month to month.  Utilize those as well and watch like a hawk.  It is your score.  You may not have known this before now, but you can check your credit report for free once a year, every year.  You absolutely should be taking advantage of this Federal Law that allows you to check on your own credit every year.  This website looks very plain, but it is very real.  No frills, just a report access to the 3 major credit bureaus.

Annual Credit Report

Take all these steps now before you become a target.  But what if it happens to you or someone you know?  What do you do now?  If you credit card all of a sudden has charges on it you were not aware of, that is a big signal something is wrong.  But if someone has your information, they might even open up a brand new account impersonating you and you will not even know until that account has been maxed and someone comes looking for you.  Or worse, you have no idea until you finally go to make a major purchase just to find out your credit score has tanked.

Well our government has some basics on what to do to build your recovery plan.  Here is the link for that information

IdentityTheft.gov

No joke, you have a lot of work cut out for yourself getting all your accounts corrected, and closing any that were opened in your name, and recovery is not immediate. If even one account is compromised, you should creating a report of all your accounts and checking them thoroughly.  The first thing that happens if a criminal has a username and password for something, is to use it on every other bank and website out there in hopes you are careless enough to use the same password in another place.  They all need to be locked down with unique secure passwords.

I spent some time discussing this with an unfortunate person just realizing how badly it can be to recover from having someone steal your personal information and use it maliciously.  At that point you need to get someone monitoring and alerting in real time while you work to change all your accounts.  Do everything you can to keep this from happening to you!

Hope this helps!

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