Don’t be seduced by phony dating sites in a hurry for your sensitive, personal information.
Learn about the latest ID theft schemes so you can protect your personal data
Keep up with the latest trends so you can prevent identity theft and credit fraud!Identity theft is an ever-evolving industry. Companies put security measures in place and hackers find creative ways around them. From phishing scams to ATM skimmers, there doesn’t seem to be any limit to the risks to your personal data. It’s often up to you to take the appropriate steps to protect your identity and prevent credit fraud. The articles in this section can help you do just that. Debt.com follows the latest hacks and ID theft scams so you can stay up-to-date and aware of the latest risks. Below the articles, you can find Debt.com’s Top 10 identity theft prevention tips. And if you’ve become the victim, visit our Solutions Center for more information. We can help you recover quickly and minimize the time, hassle and expense of securing your information.
Here’s how to repair the damage wreaked on your credit accounts by identity thieves.
Identity thieves and hackers can’t wait for you to connect to unsecured public Wi-Fi.
This summer’s rental car shortage has scammers kicking into high gear.
Here’s how to stop debit card thieves from taking a swipe at your bank account.
Scammers pretending to sell used cars online can’t wait to get their hands on your money.
Scamsters can’t wait to get their hands on your hard-earned vacation dollars.
Don’t overlook these signs of an identity thief at work wrecking your credit.
Don’t get taken for a ride this summer by these common moving scams.
Scammers take a stab at preying on public health fears with COVID-19 schemes.
Move over, fake sugar daddies. Women can lie about having deep pockets, too.
Don’t let these airfare scams ruin the vacation you’ve had to put off for a year.
Watch out for these scams aimed at tricking older adults into bad financial situations.
Here’s how to stop fraudsters from stealing your identity to file false unemployment claims.
Don’t get conned by scammers cashing in on Americans’ need for fast stimulus payments.
Don’t be fooled by delivery scammers targeting busy and distracted online shoppers.
Here’s how to avoid getting ripped off by crafty scamsters promoting bogus online holiday fairs.
Here’s what to look for before crashing through a retailer’s virtual doors on Black Friday.
Watch for these red flags of political scammers after your money or sensitive information.
Don’t join scammers for a threadbare ride on the discount coattails of fake retailers.
Here’s how to protect yourself from online pet supplies scammers who fail to deliver.
Watch for these red flags of scammers threatening to expose compromising online activities.
Here’s how to avoid unwittingly giving away sensitive information in the interest of public health.
Watch out for dating site “cyber actors” eager to put the moves on your bank account.
Don’t let scammers lead you off a financial cliff as an unwitting money mule.
All you need is a job. But all that fake “employer” wants is your personal information or money.
Take these steps to keep medical identity thieves stuck in the waiting room.
Here’s how to spot possible tax identity theft and prevent tax fraud in your name.
Hacker stole credit card applications holding Social Security and bank account numbers.
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the country. Here’s how you can prevent it.
At best, hackers will sell your personal data. At worst, they’ll control your car’s brakes while you’re driving.
Companies lack the funding, staff, and know-how to protect your information — which makes you vulnerable to identity theft.
Protecting your personal information isn’t that hard, so why aren’t we doing it?
If you aren’t teaching your kids about privacy online, their identity could be stolen.
And what you can do to outsmart them. (Hint: Ignore their rewards.)
What happens when you combine identity theft with taxes? Double the trouble and twice the pain.
Follow these three steps, and you’ll avoid the latest, hottest brand of identity theft.
The answer may depress you. It depresses me.
It’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and we have a lot of new things to be aware of.
Debt.com 10 Best Identity Theft Prevention Tips
#1: Check your credit reports once each year
By law, every consumer can check their credit for free once every twelve months. There’s even a government-mandated web portal set up where you can download your reports. Just answer a few security questions and you can download the reports from all three bureaus.
When it comes to preventing identity theft, you want to look for two things:
- Aliases or variations of your name that you don’t use
- Accounts that you didn’t open
Name variations are often assigned incorrectly, so you can end up with collection accounts that aren’t yours. If you have accounts listed in your credit report that you didn’t authorize or open, it’s a sure sign of theft.
A yearly review is one of your best lines of defense to catch ID theft early.
#2: Create a My Social Security account
The Social Security Administration created a special portal where anyone with a Social Security number can set up an online account. Whenever someone tries to claim benefits or use your number, the portal notifies you. This helps you catch Social Security fraud early, which is important because it’s the worst type of theft to handle.
Note: Do wait to do this! If someone steals your Social Security number, they can set up an account in your name. That means there’s a much lower chance of catching the theft, because the thieves intercept all your warnings!
#3: Use a random password generator
First off, change your passwords often. This helps prevent theft. You should also use one password for only one account. With today’s technology, it’s really easy to use a random password generator to create 16-character strings that are impossible to guess. Then, you save your passwords to a secure online vault or on your smartphone so you don’t have to remember them all.
There’s no excuse for using something easily guessable like Password123 or something equally as guessable.
#4: Never respond to unsolicited emails
Some phishing scams are easy to spot, but some are easy to fall for because they really seem legitimate. Phishing scams work by convincing you that a service provider you work with needs information from you. They either direct you to a website where they ask for personal information or they ask you to call them. Either way, their goal is to get things like you Social Security number or credit card account information.
If you receive an unsolicited email that directs you to do something, call the service provider’s main customer service line. Don’t call the phone number listed in the email. Just check the company website and call the main customer service line. This ensures you only respond to legitimate requests for information.
#5: Don’t email personal information, solicited or not
Emails are one of the easiest forms of communication that cyberthieves can intercept. So, whether a legitimate service provider asked for it or not, never email private information. Call and give numbers over the phone if they’re needed or ask if there’s a secure website where you can enter the information.
#6: Don’t overshare
Nobody but you should have your debit card PIN. And nobody on your social networks needs to know your physical address. Oversharing is a big problem for identity theft and social media is only making it worse. Adjust all the security settings on your favorite social networks so you only share stuff with people connected to you. This will help prevent ID theft and also problems like social media identity theft.
#7: Consider a credit monitoring service
Credit monitoring services alert you whenever there’s a change in your credit profile. This helps you catch identity theft as early as possible. It’s also a good way to track your credit score so you can build credit effectively.
If you can’t afford a paid service, there are free ones available. You may also get a monitoring service free through one of your credit card accounts or bank accounts.
#8: Close old accounts when you stop using them
Most people are pretty bad about closing old accounts. You may still have a Hotmail account that you haven’t used in over a decade, but it’s still there. And it leaves you open for identity theft if it gets hacked.
If you stop using a service, make sure to close your account. This step is most often skipped with free accounts; you close paid accounts to stop the bills, but free accounts just get left running. So, instead of just deleting that app that you never use anymore, actually take the step of going online to close the account.
#9: Don’t give out your Social Security number unless it’s required
Most forms that you fill out ask for your Social Security number even when they don’t need it. If a service provider wants your Social Security number, ask if it’s required. If not, leave the space blank. This happens often with doctor’s offices and veterinarians. Streaming services don’t need your SSN either.
So, always ask why they need the information and if it’s required. If it’s not, don’t provide it!
#10: Teach your kids to be cautious
Impart all these great identity theft tips that you’ve learned to your kids. Teenagers are terrible about oversharing and they’re often not protective enough of their accounts. They may even give their debit card and PIN to a friend because they need money and they’re feeling lazy.
So, don’t let your best ID theft practices be thwarted by kids that don’t know any better. Teach your kids about identity theft and how to avoid it, so they adopt good security practices as early as possible.