Identity Stolen: Facts You May Not Know

Aug 09,2019 • Filed to: VPN • Proven solutions

Have you ever given it a thought about stolen identity and ways to protect your ID? What to do if your identity is stolen, what are the risks, and how to recoup the loss? These questions would no doubt cross your mind.

In this article we are going to delve deeper into stolen ids and the things you ought to know about them. So, let’s go ahead.

Identity stolen? What does it mean?

We understand the risk of stolen ID and how it might jeopardize your life. So, if you are wondering "what do I do if my identity is stolen", then we have good news for you.

We will help you understand it and then tell you ways to stay secure. Stolen identity or identity theft refers to collecting personal information of people unethically and using it for own benefit. Wicked people use it to commit crimes or fraudulent activities for earning money by draining your bank account/credit cards mainly. These scammers dupe people through emails, text, phone calls, and steal their identity for obtaining a job, rent or buy a vehicle or home, open bank accounts, apply for a loan etc.

What you will suffer if your identity is stolen

A case of stolen identity is harmful in every possible way. It threatens your financial situations as well as your overall life. Here are the most common risks:

  • The fraud can withdraw all money from your bank accounts.
  • They can use your health insurance to get themselves treated. It will also alter your medical treatment in future as the records would carry their medical history in your name.
  • They will commit crime and leave your ID to get you arrested by the police.
  • They will hit and run or commit other traffic crimes and your driver’s license will be caught.
  • They can use your Social Security number without you knowing for years.
  • They can use your information to make tax frauds, so that your account is used to pay their taxes and they will claim the fraudulent refund as well.
  • Using your Social Security number, they might drain your bank accounts and empty your retirement account as well.
  • They might steal information from your social media accounts and manipulate it to blackmail you.

Signs that may indicate your identity is stolen

If you are wondering that how do I know, that my identity was stolenthen here are some quick pointers to help you. This portion of the article covers the possible signs indicating how to know if your identity was stolen.

Unexplainable consumption from your credit card or bank account

You have received a credit card or bank account statement containing a transaction out of the blue. The amount is too large and moreover, you don’t have any idea about the purchase or payment made whatsoever. You need to report about stolen idimmediately to the concerned authorities. It might prevent your stolen ID from being misused.

stolen identity: wrong consumption
Detect stolen identity from unexplainable consumption

Confusing debts that are not yours

People who steal your identity have ways to feed their own bank accounts of use your card to pay for the services they avail. If “how to find out if your identity is stolen”is still bothering you, you can find that easily. In case some debts appear out of nowhere that you don’t remember taking then understand that there is something fishy.

stolen identity: confusing debts
Detect stolen identity from confusing debts

You are billed for services you didn’t use.

Imagine you have been away on a vacation and when you are back, there are some car repair bills or a huge medical bill lying in your mail box. This is an outright case of stolen identity, and what to doin such a situation is entirely your call. We would recommend the person/company who have sent you the bill should be contacted immediately. You would also need to report this stolen identitywith the police to help them probe deeper.

stolen identity: billed incorrectly
Detect stolen identity from wrong bills

Benefits limit reached in your health plan

Well! Shortly we have mentioned unknown medial bill lying in your mail box. People with evil mind always want to benefit from other’s plight. So, don’t get surprised about how can someone steal your identityor what will they do with your information. Smell the scam when your medical insurance or mediclaim exceeds the allowed limit. In situations where you are perfectly fine and haven’t made a trip to the hospital that would go beyond your benefit limits.

stolen identity: health plan used by others
Detect stolen identity by checking the health plan

Police called you for nonexistent allegations

Just think about waking up in the mid of the night or interrupted between a busy meeting at work by the police. Yes! Stolen identities are used to commit crimes by smart criminals, who run away after using other’s ID. When this happens to you, cooperate the police and explain them that you are not the culprit, rather a victim of identity theft.

stolen identity: contacted by police
Detect stolen identity from police allegations

What to do if your identity is stolen

When someone steals your identity there are several things that might go wrong. But, you need to figure out what do you do if your identity is stolen? You can’t sit and wait for things to fall into place on their own. A criminal may commit a crime and get away with it using your identity. Here is what you can do.

Record every call you received regarding the identity theft

Wondering what to do if someone steals your identity? Well! We have the perfect idea about it. The recording feature on your phone is a great weapon to prove your innocence. As soon as you get to know about stolen ID, start recording every call related to it. Or you can record all the calls to be on the safe side. Who knows you might land up with some vital information on your favor.

Request credit reports from all credit bureaus, freeze your credit, put a fraud alert on your credit reports

As soon as you find out that you have been victimized to stolen identity, be sure to request credit reports from all credit bureaus along with enabling a fraud alert. Moreover, you must also request a credit freeze without any delay. This is important, if in case the scammers or violators try to misuse your information, you can then easily get hold of them and secure yourself.

To do this, you can either go online to get in touch with the 3 major credit bureaus namely, ‘Equifax’, ‘Experian’ and ‘TransUnion’. Or, you can call them on their customer care helpline number and follow the instructions. For your convenience, here are the helpline numbers of the respective bureaus:

  • Equifax: Call on 800-349-9960
  • Experian: Call on 888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: Call on 888-909-8872

Call institutions that detect fraudulent activity

If you are clueless abouthow to report stolen identity, then you must take help of the agencies or institutions involved with fraudulent activity detection. Request them to close accounts and report the activities, so that there is no more financial loss or mischievous act going on your name. These institutions can find out the culprit and save your back.

Report to the police

What to do if you get your identity stolen? For that matter what do you do, when anything valuable gets stolen or goes missing? You call the cops! It is always advised to report stolen ID incidents with the police. It will help you stay safe from any claims that point fingers at you. As the police have a registered case of lost identity, they won’t bother you for any crime done using your ID. They will find the real culprit and help you.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission

If you are thinking "what do I do if my identity is stolen", then get in touch with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) first. FTC encourages you to file complaints in case you have been victimized of identity theft, fraud, or deceptive/unfair business practices. You can call the Consumer Response Center of FTC or do it online. FTC maintains a strong database available across Canada, United States, and Australia based law enforcement agencies. Enforcement and investigation actions might be initiated in case of warrants if you register the complaint with them.

Tips to prevent identity from being stolen

Use a VPN when surfing the internet

The top most prevention against stolen identity is using a VPN while surfing the internet. VPN or virtual private network doesn’t disclose your browsing activities to anyone over the internet and thus keeps your information safe. Security, scalability and speed are the key factors behind the popularity of VPN. As the data or information sharing occurs in encrypted format, it is not possible for anyone to peek into it.

Apart from that, a VPN allows you to access websites across the globe without any demographic firewall restrictions. You can route through international servers, shop online from overseas websites, and access public Wi-Fi hotspots securely. All the while keeping your identity intact and allowing you to browse anonymously.

vpn to prevent identity stolen online
Use a VPN to defend against online identity hackers

Stay away from malicious websites

Malicious websites often look very intriguing and tempt you to click or register with them. It’s only when something goes wrong and then you panic that ‘what to do if my identity is stolen?’ We would recommend stay away from such scams and protect your identity.

stolen id: block malicious websites
Prevent ID from being stolen at malicious websites

Do not open phishing emails

Receiving lucrative lottery prizes won emails are an everyday phenomenon. Don’t fall prey to them at any cost. Even if you open them by mistake, don’t ever click over anything over the email. Mark it as spam, report it, or simply delete it for once and all. These phishing emails collect your data as soon as you hit a button and glided away to their scam site. They will ask your contact number and name with email and then steal your other details using this information.

stolen id: phishing emails
Risks of stolen identity in phishing emails

Be careful at mobile banking and shopping

While conducting mobile banking and online shopping on your phone, ensure to use only trusted websites. Mostly banking websites open with ‘https’ that means they are secure. Always opt for that. If you find anything dubious about the regular shopping app or the site/app from your bank, report it ASAP. Never save your passwords on browser for your bank or credit card details with merchants. Anyone can hack that using sophisticated software, if they get hold of even your email ID.

stolen id during mobile banking and shopping
Be wary of stolen ID during mobile banking and shopping

Use complex passwords, do not use the same passwords for different accounts

Always use a complex password containing characters, capital letters, numericals, as well as special characters. Don’t make it relatable to you. Choose something random that only you can remember. This way, even if an identity theft or credit/debit card loss happens, you don’t have the fear of losing money. Also, make sure to keep different passwords for different accounts and keep them changing at frequent intervals.

stolen id: password hacked
Say no to simple passwords

James Davis

staff Editor

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