What is financial identity theft?
Financial identity theft is a criminal activity in which an individual’s personal information is stolen for fraudulent financial gain. One common example of financial identity theft is when someone steals your credit card details and makes a transaction from the card without your knowledge.
Financial identity theft is considered to be a serious matter because it can cost victims both money and time to restore their good name. Fortunately, understanding how financial identity theft works can put you in a position to prevent yourself from criminals lurking both online and offline.
What information are criminals looking for?
Criminals need a variety of information to steal anyone’s identity. This may include your:
- Email address
- Social security number
- Credit/debit card PIN
- Mailing address
- Bank account or card number
- Computer, or email passwords
Additionally, criminals can also use other authentication information such as your mother’s maiden name, place of birth, etc. – if they obtain the information from your social media profiles.
The mails such as bank letters, corporate letters, etc. can also be used against you. Therefore, it is suggested to tear up all the material before throwing it in the trash, because if someone obtains the information they can commit financial identity theft using your details.
Types of financial identity theft:
Fraudsters pose as legitimate financial institutions or firms to contact the victim or phishing emails to mimic real institutions to extract personal information.
When you visit an unknown website or download unknown email attachments on your device, spyware gets downloaded on the system. It acts as a spy and monitors your online activity to transit your details to thieves.
Thieves can use smart devices to eavesdrop on your communication to obtain sensitive information.
Some thieves can go to such extremes to steal a wallet or purse to steal your credit card, driver’s license, and passport to retrieve information.
How can I protect my information?
- There is number of ways that help you in protecting your financial information from theft criminals:
- Shred all the financial documents before dumping them into the trash, especially documents mentioning your social security number.
- Examine your bank and credit card statements regularly to track any unauthorized purchases.
- Avoid clicking on links in emails you do not recognize.
- Do not share your personal information online, no reputable institute will ask for sensitive information over email or text message.
- Lock your credit report so if a criminal tries to get a bank loan or credit card in your name, he/she won’t be able to access your credit report.
What if I’m a target of identity theft?
If you have been a victim of a spam or phishing attack then please fill out the form below, our agents will provide you with the necessary assistance with the case.