The Only Thing You Need To Know About Identity Theft
There are a lot of lists and searches you can do that will tell you the things you need to know about keeping your identity safe. One search will tell you one thing, and another search will contradict that search. So, at IDSeal, we're going to tell you the thing that no one else will tell you. This is the truest and most honest fact about identity theft you will ever read.
Nothing you do can stop your identity from being stolen.
Worst sales pitch ever right? But, read this carefully and hear me out. Some things are out of your control that could lead to your identity being stolen. Some people don't have credit cards, they don't shop online, or have any kind of presence online, and yet they still have their identity stolen. You might say, "How can this be? My identity can only be stolen if I'm online". False, your identity, like yourself, exists in the real world. And in the physical space that we occupy outside of Facebook, Amazon, or YouTube, your identity can be seen, felt, and even heard.
For example, say someone in the HR department at your job does not secure employee documents properly. Or, pretend someone in that same HR department is dishonest and were to take your employee documents with all of your personal information. That is a paper document with no way of tracking who has seen it, copied it, or moved it. Think of how often you have physically written down your personal information on a piece of paper and put trust in a person to protect that same piece of paper. Scary thought, right? We do this every day without a second thought. At a doctor's office, your company's HR documents, a local post office, car dealerships, banks, etc. Before you ask - yes, there are laws and policies in place to make handling these documents as safe as can be. However, if someone wants to take your information, then there is a good chance they are not concerned with the legality of keeping personal documents safe. This type of identity thief is a wolf in sheep's clothing. They're not hacking into a company database, using "special tech", or have a sophisticated computer system. There is a good chance that in these situations, their computer skills don't even come into play. They are people who have figured out a system and know how to manipulate it.
So, what can you do about it? First, understand giving out your information is a double-edged sword. Your information is needed to do certain things, and some places need more information than others. For example, a car dealership needs your social security number to run a credit check if you are going to finance a car. However, your doctor or hospital does not need your social security number, and you can and should refuse to give it to them.
Second, pay attention to your life. It is easy to get a piece of mail or see something on your bank account and write it off as nothing. But, if you get bank notices from a bank that is not your own, or you notice charges for things that do not make any sense, no matter how small the charge, it's time to start making some phone calls. With that being said, pay attention to the bills you pay monthly, like water and power. These are charges, possibly set up on automatic draft, that you pay every month and you may not pay any attention to the balance due. This makes it easy for an identity thief to pay their bills with your information.
Finally, having a service like IDSeal that monitors your information can save you a lot of hassle. IDSeal tells you if your social security number has been used, what addresses are associated with different types of information, or if your email and other accounts have been found in a data breach. And if your identity is stolen, you won't have to restore it on your own.
The simple truth is this, chances are good that your personal information has either already been stolen or will get stolen. It might be on a piece of paper in a stack of a hundred others right now. There is a chance it will never be used and could sit in that stack forever. However, if it does get used or is found on the dark web, having IDSeal will come in handy.
Like I said in the beginning, nothing you do can stop your identity from being stolen. Where there is a will there will always be a way. But, no one said you can't take it back and no one said you have to take it back by yourself.