There are many ways that Georgia residents can fall victim to identity theft. When this happens, it can be costly, both financially and timewise. It can take a while to restore credit scores and reputation with financial institutions. It is important that everyone understands how identity theft can occur so individuals can take steps to prevent it from happening.
According to USA.gov, the most typical types of identity theft are medical ID, tax ID and social ID theft. With medical, someone uses another person’s health insurance or Medicare number to get medical care. Thieves steal social security numbers for multiple reasons, but a common one is to file tax returns in a false manner. In social identity theft, thieves use someone else’s name and pictures to set up fake social media accounts.
The two most vulnerable age groups to ID theft are seniors and children. There are numerous ways someone can prevent being a victim of identity theft. These include:
- Pick up mail every day and put a hold on it when out of town
- Protect social security numbers by keeping in a secure place and only giving the number to someone when absolutely necessary
- Shred mail and other forms that contain personal data
- Be smart, such as using a firewall and avoiding public Wi-Fi, when using the internet
- Create hard-to-figure-out passwords and change regularly
- Review credit reports for inconsistencies once a year
The Federal Trade Commission recommends also contacting credit reporting agencies to freeze credit files for no charge. This restricts others from accessing the credit report for reasons such as opening a new account. There are also active duty alerts for deployed service members.