Did you know that the most common way that someone suffers from bad credit reporting is due to identity theft. Credit reporting is unbelievably important because your credit score can determine whether you qualify for a loan, can open a business, or make purchases with a credit card. Unfortunately, identity thieves can steal your information and use it to make unlawful purchases, open businesses, and even file for bankruptcy; all of which will negatively affect your credit score.
While you may not be liable for the unlawful purchases that these identity thieves make, it can take months to get all of the unlawful activity removed from your accounts and credit history. During this time, your credit cards may be put on hold and your bank accounts can even be frozen.
Identity theft has become more and more common since the Internet has become so pivotal in everyone's life. According to the California Department of Justice, upwards of 2 million Californians has their identity stolen in 2013.
Identity Theft During the Holidays
Identity thieves are more on the prowl during the holidays because of several factors. While everyone is traveling across the country to visit their families, identity thieves have more chances to steal someone's credit cards simply by pick-pocketing them. AAA reports that over 46 million Americans are expected to travel during the 2015 holiday season. This can create multiple opportunities for identity thieves to steal information. They may opt for pick-pocketing and using a credit card directly, but may also go more for a more technical approach.
During the holiday season, identity thieves may attempt to steal credit information via the following:
- Hacking all of the online shopping that occurs during the holidays
- Creating phishing emails offering special deals for holiday shopping that are actually being used to steal your information
- Using scanners to steal your credit card information while passing you in a crowd
While you're preparing for your holiday travel and doing your online shopping, make sure that you protect yourself from identity theft as best as you can.
Tips to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft During the Holidays
In order to keep your identity safe during the holidays, here are some steps that you can take prior to shopping or traveling. Here are some ways to avoid identity theft this holiday season:
- Purchase an RFID-blocking wallet or purse to ensure that your information can't be accessed by scanners
- Check all of your passwords and ensure that they're difficult to crack. Don't use names, dates, or numbers that are easily associated with you and your family. Make your passwords random strings of numbers, letters, and symbols. Also, change your passwords every 3-4 months.
- Never open emails from an unknown source
- Ensure that a website is verified and secure before entering any personal information
- Never give your information out when you receive an email guaranteeing certain savings or deals unless you recognize the source and it is a trusted site
While it may seem like overkill to change all of your passwords and purchase an RFID-blocking wallet or purse, these precautions can help you avoid the hassles that can occur from your identity being stolen. RFID-blocking wallets and purses are effectively a way to bulletproof your garment and ensure that scanners can't access your information. In a crowded room, like an airport or bus terminal, if it likely that an identity thief can steal 40 credit card numbers in 15 minutes. Take the appropriate steps to ensure that you and your family aren't not a part of that statistic.
Ways Your Identity Can Be Hacked or Stolen
There are multiple ways that your identity can be stolen and some of them may shock you. Identity thieves will take any information they can get and use it in some of the most outlandish ways. Here are some ways that identity thieves might use your fraudulently-attained information:
- Steal your frequent flyer miles -- thieves can hack your frequent flyer miles and even use the miles for their own flights or upgrades
- Commit crimes in your name -- they may steal your information and commit a crime, but the warrant will be issued in your name without you even knowing it happened
- Steal your health insurance -- by hacking and gathering your information, thieves may use your health insurance for their own treatments, but the bills will come to you
- Hack your social media accounts -- by stealing your information, they can hack into your social media accounts and post on your behalf or ask your friends for information by pretending that they're you
- Steal your tax refund -- by stealing your information, they could file a tax return in your name and receive your tax refund
- Open credit cards in your name -- if thieves can hack your information, they can apply for and use credit cards that are in your name, racking up thousands of dollars against your credit
What to Do if Your Credit Was Affected by Identity Thieves
If you've had your information stolen by identity thieves, you may feel as though you're at a loss as to what to do to remedy the situation. The good news is that our attorney, Howard Silver, has been helping victims of identity theft for decades. Though your credit score may have been ruined by these identity thieves and you may be on the hook for thousands of dollars, our attorney can help you prove that these charges were made fraudulently. He can help get your credit unfrozen and get money refunded back to you. He will help you sort things out with credit card companies and banks and then will go after the guilty parties involved in your identity theft.
For help with your credit reporting case, please contact Howard Silver today. He proudly serves clients in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and the surrounding areas. Contact him today by filling out the form on this page or calling (855) 341-2611.