According to Wikipedia:
Identity theft is a form of fraud or cheating of another person’s identity in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person’s identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person’s name. The victim of identity theft (here meaning the person whose identity has been assumed by the identity thief) can suffer adverse consequences if he or she is held accountable for the perpetrator’s actions. Organizations and individuals who are duped or defrauded by the identity thief can also suffer adverse consequences and losses, and to that extent are also victims. [Read More]
Here are some helpful tips to prevent this from happening to you:
- Never share personal information including social security numbers, passwords, or account numbers over the phone or internet. When being asked for personal information be sure to get the caller’s name, telephone number and the organization they are representing.
- If you must throw away important paperwork and documents, it is best to shred them.
- When mailing out bill payments or checks go directly to the post office to mail them out or drop them in a secure neighborhood blue postal box. It’s safer than mailing it from home.
- Review all account statements. If you have electronic account access, take advantage and review activity periodically. This will help you come across any unauthorized activity and the sooner you can notify the creditor to get it settled right away.
- Protect your social security number. Never carry your social security card or anything with your social security number on it in your wallet or purse, along with your driver’s license. Only give out your social security number when absolutely necessary.
- Keep in mind that no financial institution will ask to verify your information via email.
- Review your credit report annually.