To figure out how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft, you need to know what identity theft is and when you might be vulnerable to it.
Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information to take over your credit accounts, open new credit accounts, take out a loan, rent an apartment, access bank accounts, or commit crimes using your identity.
When identity theft strikes, the effects can be devastating. What’s more, because it frequently involves no physical theft, victims of identity theft may not notice it has occurred until significant damage has been done—often, several months and thousands of dollars later.
Identity thieves steal your personal information by:
Identity thieves use your personal information by:
Prevent identity theft by monitoring your credit report closely
Unless you check your credit report frequently, there’s often no way to tell if identity thieves have used your personal information to obtain credit accounts or other services in your name.
To help protect yourself from identity theft, subscribe to a credit report monitoring service. With credit monitoring, you’ll get an early alert to new and suspicious activity on your report as well as identity theft insurance and access to your credit report.
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