Did you know that something as simple as a change of address can protect or expose you to identity theft? Let’s dive in and discover why change of address monitoring helps in safeguarding your identity!
What is “Change of Address” Monitoring?
Imagine you’re moving to a new house. You’d want all your letters and packages to come to your new address, right? That’s when you inform the post office to redirect all your mail. But what if someone sneaky does this without you knowing? That’s where change of address monitoring steps in. It watches for any changes to your address and alerts you if something looks fishy.
Why is Address Monitoring Important?
- Stay In The Know: With address monitoring, you’ll always know where your mail is heading. No more lost birthday cards or missing bills!
- Spot The Bad Guys: If a sneaky person tries to change your address without you knowing, this tool will quickly let you know.
- Peace of Mind: You can sleep better knowing that you have an extra layer of protection for your personal info.
How Can Criminals Misuse Address Changes?
You might wonder, “Why would anyone want to change my address?” Here’s the scoop:
- Stealing Your Stuff: By rerouting your mail, criminals can snatch credit card offers, checks, or new credit cards before you even know they’re missing.
- Gathering Information: Identity thieves love to collect personal info. With your mail, they can learn a lot about you and potentially misuse it.
- Hiding Their Tracks: If they change your address, you might not get important bills or alerts, giving them more time to cause mischief.
Make Address Monitoring Your Secret Weapon!
You wouldn’t leave your front door unlocked, so why leave your mailbox unprotected? Change of address monitoring is like a security guard for your mail. By being in the know, you can stop identity thieves in their tracks.
*Interesting Fact: According to experts, millions of people have their identities stolen every year, but those with monitoring tools are more likely to catch and stop the bad guys!
Your address is more than just where you live. It’s a gateway to your personal information. By keeping an eye on any changes, you’re not only protecting your mail but also your identity. So, be smart, be safe, and consider adding address monitoring to your safety toolkit!
Remember: Safety first, because your identity is priceless!
Related articles to Change of Address Monitoring: Safeguarding Your Identity:
Identity theft is a serious crime that can have a devastating impact on your finances and your life. When someone steals your personal information, they can use it to open new accounts in your name, run up debts, and damage your credit score.
A low credit score makes it difficult to get approved for loans, credit cards, and other forms of credit. It can also make it more expensive to borrow money, as you will likely have to pay higher interest rates. A low credit score also makes it difficult to rent an apartment, get a job, or even get insurance.
How Identity Theft Can Ruin Your Credit
There are many ways that identity thieves can ruin your credit. Here are a few examples:
- They can open new accounts in your name and not make payments. When payments are not made it leads to collections, and even bankruptcy.
- They can max out your existing credit cards. Maxed out credit cards will damage your credit score.
- They can change the address on your accounts so that you don’t receive important billing information. This can lead to missed payments and further damage to your credit score.
- They can file for bankruptcy in your name. Bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, making it very difficult to get approved for credit.
The Impact of a Low Credit Score
A low credit score can have a major impact on your life. Here are a few examples:
- You may not be able to get approved for a loan to buy a car or a home.
- You may have to pay higher interest rates on credit cards and loans.
- You may have difficulty renting an apartment or getting a job.
- You may have difficulty getting insurance.
- You may be denied a job promotion or a scholarship.
The Emotional Impact of Identity Theft
Yes identity Theft Can Ruin Your Credit and Your Life, having a significant emotional impact on victims as well. Victims may experience feelings of anger, anxiety, stress, and depression. They may also feel violated, betrayed, and helpless.
According to a study by the Identity Theft Resource Center, 70% of identity theft victims experience emotional distress. The study also found that victims are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than people who have not been victims of identity theft.
If you are a victim of identity theft, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. Talking to someone about what you are going through can help you to cope with the emotional impact of the crime.
- 70% of identity theft victims experience emotional distress.
- Victims are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and PTSD than people who have not been victims of identity theft.
- The average victim of identity theft spends 200 hours and $1,700 to recover from the crime.
- It can take up to 7 years to fully recover from identity theft.
Take Action Today
Identity theft is a serious crime, but it is one that you can protect yourself from. By taking the necessary steps to protect your personal information and monitoring your credit reports regularly, you can help keep your credit score safe and your finances secure.
Don’t let identity theft ruin your credit and your life. Take action today to protect yourself!
If you are a victim of identity theft, here are a few places to start:
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC): 1-877-438-4338
- The Identity Theft Resource Center: 1-888-400-5530
- The National Association of Consumer Advocates: 1-800-644-7222
Wifi Safety: Don’t Fall for This Sneaky Trick! Do you use public WiFi? It’s a handy way to stay online while you’re out and about. But be careful! There’s a new trick called WiFi jacking that can steal your info.
Bad guys use a special tool to sneak into public WiFi networks. They can get into your phone and take your personal stuff. This is a big problem, but we can protect ourselves.
WiFi Jacking: A Sneaky Trick Crooks use a strong antenna to do WiFi jacking. They aim it at public WiFi spots and take info from people who are connected. They can grab things like passwords and credit card numbers.
This is really bad because they can use your info to do bad stuff like stealing money or pretending to be you. We need to be careful when we’re on public WiFi.
WiFi Jacking vs. Man-in-the-Middle WiFi jacking sounds like another trick called Man-in-the-Middle. But they’re a bit different.
WiFi jacking steals info from WiFi networks. Man-in-the-Middle attacks mess up conversations between two people online. Both are bad, but WiFi jacking is more about taking info from wireless networks.
Watch Out for Risks WiFi jacking is a problem because it tricks us on public WiFi. We think we’re safe, but the bad guys are listening. We have to be smart and keep our stuff safe.
Here’s what you can do:
- Use Safe WiFi: Pick trusted networks, not ones with strange names.
- Try VPNs: These make a secret path for your info so bad guys can’t take it.
- Use 2FA: Add an extra step when you log in, like a special code sent to your phone.
- Check Websites: Look for “https://” and a lock symbol when you visit a site. That is an indication that it’s safe.
- Update Stuff: Keep your phone and apps up to date. This helps stop bad guys.
Stay Safe and Smart WiFi jacking is a problem, but we can beat it. Connect smartly, use a VPN, try 2FA, and watch out for weird stuff online. Let’s make sure our info stays safe and keep having fun online!
Wifi Safety: Don’t Fall for This Sneaky Trick!
Open season for Tax Identity Thieves is in full swing. They are ready for you to procrastinate, to hold off on doing your taxes because they are ready to do it for you.
Tax identity theft occurs when the bad guy uses your Social Security Number (SSN) to file a fake tax return and collect your refund. You are unlikely to find out about it until you attempt to file your real tax return and it is rejected by the IRS as a duplicate. The fraudulent use of your SSN means you also may be at risk for other types of identity theft.
What to do.
Beat them to it and file your taxes as early as possible to ensure you do not become a victim. This is extremely important if you know your information has been part of any one of the data breaches over the years or if you have had your identity stolen in the past already.
Protect your Social Security Number whenever possible. You are often asked for your SSN on forms but it is not always necessary. Do not provide your SSN unless it is absolutely needed.
Beware of SCAMS. Lookout for Government imposters threatening fines, arrest or cancellation of your SSN if you do not pay them immediately. They will usually ask you to pay with a gift card or prepaid debit card. If you pay them, you will never see your money again. Some scammers will ask you to confirm your identity by providing your SSN, again, do not. Remember, the IRS will contact you first by mail. Additionally, the IRS will never email you, send you a text or contact you on a social network.
Secure your network. If you are filing electronically, use a secure, password-protected network or Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection to do so. You can also mail your returns directly from the Post Office, do not put them in your personal mailbox with the flag up!
Know your tax person! If you are using someone to prepare your taxes, you must go through your due diligence before you hand over your Personally Identifiable Information, (PII).
What if it happens to me?
- First, contact the IRS as soon as you can. Keep careful documentation of everything and stay in touch with the IRS until the issue is resolved.
- Second, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
- Third, file a complaint with the local police department.
- Fourth, put a fraud alert on your credit file with all three credit bureaus.
It is an open hunting season for identity thieves but we don’t have to be deer in headlights, take these steps and mitigate your risk.
Hunting season for Tax Identity Thieves is in full swing and its time to know your rights: PDF HERE
If you don’t want to fight this fight alone, get identity theft protection and mitigate your risks with monitoring, cover your losses with insurance and ensure peace of mind with a place to turn with full-service recovery experts. Read more about identity theft protection here: 14 features of Identity Theft Protection Monitoring and the Most Important Feature!
Effecting all ages, from small towns to big cities to the entire world, Identity theft can reach everyone. Often considered a victimless crime, ID theft increases stress and fatigue and is definitely not victimless. Data shows that yes institutions are impacted but the impact on individuals, family, co-workers, employers, and friends is great. The impact on the individual is immediate, causing stress and emotional trauma that causes a domino of negative events personally, professionally, and socially.
The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to support victims of identity theft released the initial findings of its The Aftermath®: The Non-Economic Impacts of Identity Theft victim impact survey.
A very interesting account that goes beyond the known financial indicators caused by identity theft. Instead, the report explores the emotional, physical and psychological impacts experienced by victims of identity crime.
The survey participants were actual ID theft victims who contacted the ITRC for assistance in 2017. The survey found that “many of the respondents experienced negative emotional impacts that resulted in real physical consequences. As an example, of the individuals that responded, 77.3 percent reported increased stress levels and 54.5 percent had increased fatigue or decreased energy.”
“Year after year, The Aftermath® survey continues to show that the effects of identity theft are far-reaching: impacting victims’ general emotional and physical well-being, their relationships with others and even how they engage within their work or school environments,” said Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “As we work with industry and other stakeholders, it’s crucial to continue to share the emotional, physical and socio-economic impact findings with them so they better understand the totality of the ramifications of this crime, as well as providing encouragement for them to elicit change within their organizations.”
According to the survey, findings included that due to their identity theft incident:
- nearly 46 percent of those surveyed said they felt like they couldn’t trust family
- and 55 percent stated they had trust issues with friends.
- Respondents admitted the identity theft incident caused problems at their place of employment (32 percent) and at school (8 percent).
To access the preliminary findings of The Aftermath® for 2018, you can go to https://www.idtheftcenter.org/aftermath2018/.
Data breaches continue to impact the total number of ID theft victims, affecting more Americans than ever (16.7 million) became a victim of ID theft last year. It is no longer an option to just trust that any entity will hold my information safely. ID Theft Increases Stress and Fatigue, and we need to have a plan for when our information is used fraudulently. Read “What Do Identity Theft Protection Services Really Do? to determine if a program makes sense for you.