Quick Answer: What Can I Do To Protect My Identity?

How can I find out if someone is using my identity?

at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338) or go to: www.identitytheft.gov/ To order a copy of your Social Security Administration earnings and benefits statement, or to check whether someone has used your Social Security number to get a job or to avoid paying taxes, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/statement/..

How long does it take to recover from identity theft?

6 monthsIdentity Theft Recovery Times The timeframe for getting back on track depends on several factors, including: Your willingness to put in the time: According to SANS Institute, identity theft recovery takes an average of 6 months and 100 to 200 hours-worth of work.

What happens when your identity is stolen?

Identity (ID) theft happens when someone steals your personal information to commit fraud. The identity thief may use your information to apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services. These acts can damage your credit status, and cost you time and money to restore your good name.

Do identity thieves get caught?

Identity thieves almost never get caught In a study done in 2006, “only 1 in 700 identity theft suspects were arrested by federal authorities (0.14%).” … It’s safe to say that identity thieves are far more likely to get away with their crimes.

How can I protect myself from identity theft online?

How can I protect my identity online?Protect your computer and smartphone with strong, up-to-date security software. … Learn to spot spam and scams. … Use strong passwords. … Monitor your credit scores. … Review your credit score. … Freeze your credit. … Only use reputable websites when making purchases. … Stay alert.

Why is there a need to protect your identity?

Protecting your identity is very important, as failure to do so can lead to a lot of problems. A person can run into potential problems with the police, the IRS or employers. Job opportunities might diminish due to a low credit score or a tarnished reputation.

Who does identity theft affect the most?

Three main age groups stand out among victims of identity theft: the elderly, college students and children. The Bureau of Justice reports the number of elderly victims grew by 25 percent between 2012 and 2014. In children, identity theft victims as young as 5 months old have been reported.

What can you do to prevent your identity from being stolen?

Top Ten Ways to Prevent Identity TheftSecure Your Personal Records. … Safeguard Your Personal Information Online. … Limit What You Carry. … Protect Your Social Security Number. … Use Passwords and Change Them Regularly. … Find Out If Your Records Were Affected After a Data Breach. … Guard Against Tele-Theft. … Protect Your Computer.More items…

Can you recover from identity theft?

And ID theft recovery is a time drain, too. The average time it takes to fix an identity theft issue is seven hours, usually over the course of a day (most common) up to a month. In extreme cases, people may spend up to 1,200 hours over the course of a year or more resolving identity theft problems.

How do criminals steal your identity?

A thief can get your personal information in person or online. Here are some ways thieves might steal someone’s identity. … steal your mail or garbage to get your account numbers or your Social Security number. trick you into sending personal information in an email.

How can I protect my identity for free?

Check all your financial accounts for errors or suspicious activity. … Enroll in a credit monitoring service. … Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. … Consider freezing your credit. … Alert the authorities. … Always use strong passwords and be aware of information you give out. … 6 steps to take after identity theft.

How do I protect my bank account from identity theft?

How to Prevent Identity TheftCheck your credit report at least three times per year. … Make sure your computer has updated antivirus software. … Make privacy a priority on social media. … Keep your phone secure. … Never use unsecured Wi-Fi. … Change your passwords every 90 days. … Check your online bank account every day.More items…

How common is ID theft?

Nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft, according to a 2018 online survey by The Harris Poll. That same survey indicates nearly 15 million consumers experienced identity theft in 2017. So, yes, the crime of identity theft is relatively common.

What changes can you make in your life which will help protect your identity?

Protect Your Personal Information From Identity TheftCreate strong passwords. … Be smart about updating passwords. … Check your credit report. … Review your accounts. … Don’t over share on social media. … Shield your computer. … Don’t take the bait. … Safeguard your Social Security card.More items…

What can someone do with my identity?

Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and get your refund.

Are you responsible if your identity is stolen?

You have limited liability for fraudulent debts caused by identity theft. Under most state laws, you’re not responsible for any debt incurred on fraudulent new accounts opened in your name without your permission. Under federal law, the amount you have to pay for unauthorized use of your credit card is limited to $50.

Can someone steal your identity with just your name?

“The short answer is no,” says Eva Casey Velasquez, president/CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center. … “However, your name and address could be used as a gateway to steal your identity.” In this article, learn four ways that gate might be opened.

Can I change my SSN?

The Social Security Administration generally does not encourage or allow you to change your Social Security number, except under certain circumstances. You can change your SSN if you can prove that using your existing number will cause you harm, such as in cases of abuse or harassment.