Your savings make more moments possible—the same moments that could be at risk if your identity is stolen.
The moment you close on your dream home.
The moment you relive your honeymoon 25 years later.
The moment your son is accepted to his first-choice college.
Don’t think identity theft can happen to you? You’d be surprised. Identity fraud hit an all-time high in 2017, impacting nearly 1 in 7 Americans. According to Javelin Strategy & Research’s annual Identity Fraud Study, the amount stolen in 2017 rose to $16.8 billion.1 The risk is even greater for those with a higher net worth. The first step to protecting yourself is knowing the warning signs.
Watch for these red flags:
- You don’t receive bills or other mail.
- You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
- Your medical claim is rejected because records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
- The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
- You learn that your information was compromised by a data breach.
Believe it or not, a password is all that’s needed to commit identity theft according to Jared Feldman, partner at Anchin, Block and Anchin. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take.
Minimize your risk:
- Create a strong password. Many businesses require a combination of numbers, letters and special symbols. Two-factor authentication is also common. An example is being asked to set a password and answer a series of security questions.
- Freeze your credit report. If you are not planning to open a new account anytime soon, follow these simple instructions to prevent others from opening one in your name.
- Set transaction alerts. Quickly detect and prevent online fraud by setting alerts on the sites that you share personal data with, such as shopping, bank and credit cards.
- Secure your devices. Thieves are especially interested in smartphones because of the amount of personal data stored and sent. Always enable the screen lock, avoid public Wi-Fi networks, encrypt the data and use strong passwords.
If identity fraud happens, take these steps:
- Contact the fraud department at the company where the breach occurred. Ask them to place a freeze on your account and change all logins and passwords.
- Place a free 90-day fraud alert on your credit report. Follow these simple instructions to prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name.
- Report identity theft to the FTC. You can do this online or by calling 877-433-4338. Create an account so that you can track your recovery progress and easily access the necessary forms.
- File a police report. This may be useful when contacting lenders, banks and insurance companies. You’ll need to bring your FTC Identity Theft Report, photo ID, proof of address and proof of theft.
- Make sure your anti-virus software is current. This will protect you from malicious intrusion that may place your online profile credentials and any documents on your device at risk.
Identity thieves have become increasingly sophisticated. Being proactive is your best defense. Follow these tips and keep a watchful eye on your accounts and statements to maximize your savings and all the meaningful moments they make possible.
This page and the information contained herein is for educational purposes only. The information is not intended to provide legal, investment, tax or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any product, service or strategy to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional. Comenity Capital Bank and its affiliates (“Comenity”) assumes no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Any links to other websites are included for your convenience only. Comenity does not endorse any product or service and is not responsible for the accuracy or reliability of the information made available through such sites.
Reference: 1. Javelin Strategy & Research, 2018 February 6, Identity Fraud Hits All Time High With 16.7 Million U.S. Victims in 2017, According to New Javelin Strategy & Research Study, Retrieved from https://www.javelinstrategy.com/press-release/identity-fraud-hits-all-time-high-167-million-us-victims-2017-according-new-javelin