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Saturday, February 22, 2020

HOW TO: Avoid Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft

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Identity theft can affect you in more ways than just financially.  Today, identity theft can occur by way of government, the Internet, and financial fraud.  Tax scams, hijacked social media accounts, and financial breaches can be detrimental to your life.  Always use safe and secure practices when it comes to your personal data.

Government fraud is becoming more prevalent as hackers are finding more ways to carry out these hoaxes.  They are looking for tax refunds and making you a victim.  Filing false tax returns and applying for government disability are just a few of the ways they are stealing your identity.

Internet theft can create much more than just a  financial problem for you.  Once a hacker has been able to log into your accounts, they may be able to reset them, making it tough for you to log on.  They can send messages posing as you from your social media accounts.  They may take over your iTunes account and worse, they may gain access to your bank and credit card accounts. Financial fraud can become a major problem and derail your life.  If you have been hacked, you will more than likely have to visit your bank in person to repair the situation.  Once you are locked out of your accounts online, you will have to call each company by phone to explain the situation.

Identity theft can result from numerous causes.  Never leave your outgoing correspondence in your mailbox to be picked up.  Always take it directly to the post office or hand it directly to your mail carrier.  If you are leaving town, have your mail put on hold, or have a trusted friend or relative pick it up for you. Your mail contains valuable personal information like account numbers and pin numbers.  Always shred your correspondence and reduce your paper mail by moving your accounts online.

Re-set online passwords often and never reuse the same password on more than one account.  Use numbers and symbols with your passwords to make them harder to crack, too. Check your three credit reports monthly to ensure that no unusual activity. If you see a drop in your score, investigate immediately.

Lifelock Protection is a valuable resource to protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft.  As a valued member of AAA, you have a discount on Lifelock products.  It’s just one more reason to become a member of AAA.


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