You’ve heard of identity theft, but did you know there are many different types out there? If you thought you just had to worry about your bank and credit cards, you’re wrong. Identity thieves are crafty and clever enough to ruin your life and cause extreme headaches in many ways. Here’s some of the worst types of identity theft and how to beat every one.
Show Yourself the Money
Monetary identity theft is the act of stealing funds from a bank, investment, credit card, or another financial account. Of the several types of identity theft out there, this is the most common and immediately damaging because it hits you where it hurts — in the pocketbook.
Banks usually replace funds stolen through financial identity theft in most cases, but you’re bound to miss a few payments and suffer a shock when you go to the ATM and find a zero balance. If not caught in time, your credit could be affected.
Keep debit cards, ATM receipts, and checks under lockdown. Do not lend them to friends or leave them out, even inside your home. Shred bank statements and check all of your accounts for erroneous charges.
Take Your Meds
Insurance identity theft is a new but damaging type of identity theft. Identity thieves steal your identity and file claims for medical care on your insurance. Sounds strange, right? You might wonder who would do that. Well, those without insurance who need medical care do it all the time.
How does it affect you? You’ll probably lose medical coverage and the ability to get it from anyone else. Or, you’ll suffer sky-high premiums. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Your identity thief will probably run up uncovered medical expenses in your name.
What’s worse? You won’t know someone is getting a hip replaced with your insurance until your coverage caps out and gets canceled. Check for erroneous claims on your insurance every month to protect yourself.
Find a Hybrid Solution
Hybrid identity theft is a new, evolving form of the crime. Thieves use parts of identities gleaned from multiple victims and steal everything from cable service to money.
Secure Your Social Security Card
That small little card with your social security number is very valuable to someone. People steal them, along with your license, to get a job, then stick you with the tax bill. Unfortunately, there’s no way to track this one. Just hang on to your card, and never give out your social security number unless you have to.
Protect Your Kid’s Future
Identity thieves can use your kid’s name and social security number to set up fraudulent bank accounts, or credit cards with exorbitant credit lines, and never pay. Your kid gets stuck with the bill!
Sadly, the fraud only surfaces years later when your teen applies for a car loan. Solution? Keep their social security number hidden, and don’t give it to family members. They often commit the fraud.
Remember these types of identity theft and keep your precious account numbers safe.
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image Via Flickr by 401(K) 2013