The month of December is Identity Theft Awareness and Prevention Month, and with it being near the holiday season full of online shopping and credit card swipes, this is a topic everyone should take seriously. Not everyone understands how easy it is for your identity to be stolen, and many are unsure what to do if it happens to them. With the help of Landmark National Bank, you’ll learn how to avoid identity theft and what to do if your identity is stolen.
How Does Identity Theft Occur?
There are so many ways for your identity to be stolen, and while many think they’re taking extra precautions, that may not always be enough. Identity theft usually begins when your personal data is exposed through hacking or data breaching. Criminals make use of your personal information illegally for their benefit under your name.
Identity theft can occur in many ways, some of which include:
- Mail theft
- Credit card/debit card theft
- Stolen personal information
- Spam calls
How To Avoid Identity Theft
According to the FTC, Americans filed nearly 1.4 million identity theft reports in 2021. Avoiding identity theft isn’t always easy, because there are many different ways an imposter can get your information. Your personal information can be accessed in a variety of ways, often without your knowledge. You can’t guarantee that you won’t encounter some sort of identity theft or fraud throughout your life, but there are ways to help avoid and prevent it. Some of the ways to avoid identity theft include:
- Destroy private records and statements
- Secure and check your mail often
- Consistently review your credit reports
- Consistently check your bank accounts/statements
- Safeguard your Social Security number
- Be cautious when using ATMs
What To Do if Your Identity Is Stolen
Even when you’ve brought ways to avoid identity theft into your daily routines, it can’t always be avoided. Once your identity is stolen, it’s important to act quickly and take the steps to get ahead of the situation before it gets out of hand.
If you suspect that your identity has been stolen, the first step is to call one of the three credit reporting agencies and place a fraud alert or freeze your file. Now that your files are frozen, you should close or cancel any other accounts associated with your name. Additionally, you should order new cards and account numbers and let all parties know about your situation. You should then report this crime to the local police and obtain a copy of the report so that credit companies and other financial institutions can get a copy.
Finally, you should file a theft complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It’s important to take identity theft and fraud seriously because if it isn’t caught early on, it can cost you in the long run or even recur in the future.
Protect Your Identity With Landmark National Bank
At Landmark National Bank, privacy and security are our top priorities when you open accounts with us. Our fraud prevention and security systems help protect you with a combination of firewall barriers, encryption techniques, and authentication procedures to maintain the security of your online session and protect your accounts.
When you open an account at Landmark National Bank, you don’t have to worry about your bank account or personal information being leaked—we’ll have it locked up tight. Make sure to take all the precautionary measures necessary to protect your identity and open an account with Landmark National Bank today!