You’ve probably been hearing a lot about preventing identity theft. In today’s internet-driven world, you need to protect your personal identity. But identity theft goes much deeper, and there are several different types of identity theft that criminals can engage in.
Approximately 60 million Americans were affected by identity theft in 2018. And, there’s a new victim of identity theft every 2-3 seconds. So how can you protect yourself from identity theft? The first and the most critical step is understanding different types of identity theft. When you know the threats, preventing identity theft becomes a little easier.
7 Types of Identity Theft You May Not Know About
1. Financial Identity Theft
As the name suggests, financial identity theft involves a person’s bank account or credit card being stolen. Perpetrators of the theft will use your credit cards or account information to purchase products or services.
This can lead to severe financial losses and prove harmful to your future financial security or purchasing power. Financial identity theft can also result in a low credit score or significant debts.
To prevent identity theft, make sure you properly destroy expired credit cards and bank statements using a reliable shredding service. Also, you can seek help from professional financial identity theft services to track credit card activities and receive notifications in the case of suspicious transactions.
2. Medical Identity Theft
In the case of medical identity theft, criminals can use your personal information to access information about the medical services and products you and your family have used. In 2014 alone, more than 2.3 million American adults were affected by medical identity theft. It can lead to incorrect information about your medical history as well as significant financial losses. For instance, your personal medical information could get used to access a particular prescription or undergo a medical procedure. In the future, medical professionals may use the same information to make decisions about your health.
To prevent such adversities, secure your medical information in the best possible way. Use shredding services to destroy documents that have expired or are not required anymore. Also, if you lose your medical identity card, report the loss as soon as possible.
3. Driver’s License Identity Theft
Your driver’s license is often an afterthought — something that you throw in your wallet and don’t think of unless you get pulled over. But thieves love to steal them and you’ve got to keep yours safe. Criminals can use your driver’s license to hide their crimes or protect their own identities. If they are successful in identifying themselves based on the information on your driver’s license, they may be able to avoid appearing in court or paying fines.
To prevent driver’s license identity theft, it’s important to secure your ID. Like all other proofs of identity, make sure you destroy an expired driving license using an efficient shredding service. In case you lose your driver’s license, report it to the police immediately.
4. Social Security Identity Theft
This is one of the most common types of identity theft in the U.S. In 2017, the Identity Theft Resource Center recorded a new high of 1,579 data breaches, exposing over 178 million records. The type of information exposed included social security numbers, addresses, birth certificates, etc.
A Social Security Number (SSN) is the most valuable government-based identity proof in the U.S. Once it is stolen, the culprit can either sell it or use it to steal property or money. In case your SSN gets stolen, there is a high possibility that your SSN will be used to forge important documents such as passports, open credit card accounts, etc. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance to keep your SSN secure.
5. Insurance Identity Theft
Insurance identity theft is somewhat related to medical identity theft as it involves criminals stealing information to access your insurance details to receive medical treatment. This can have a significant impact on your finances as it can result in higher insurance premiums and massive medical bills. If you have any insurance-related or medical policy-related documents at home, make sure you destroy them to prevent insurance identity theft.
6. Child Identity Theft
Child identity theft involves the theft of a child’s personal details or SSN to access insurance, loans, and other documents. These details can also be used to commit crimes. So, make sure you secure your child’s information by applying the same method you use to protect your personal information. Most importantly, train your children to hide their personal details from strangers.
According to Experian, child identity fraud can affect about 25% of kids before they turn 18.
7. Tax Identity Theft
Tax identity theft is marked by bogus tax refund claims. Perpetrators then send these claims to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using stolen details such as your name and SSN. This can lead to a delay in your ability to access tax refunds. According to the Federal Trade Commission, 34% of identity theft crimes were tax-related.
To prevent tax identity theft, make sure you deploy safe internet practices as criminals can easily steal information from your emails. Avoid sharing your tax-related information with anyone.
The Keys to Preventing Identity Theft
Identity thieves turn to the trash to find leftover pieces of information, return addresses on envelopes indicating your bank details, your investment details, medical records, and a lot more beyond your imagination. Fortunately, you can prevent identity theft by simply shredding useful receipts, documents, bills, etc.
However, simply ripping up the documents won’t help. Nor is cutting up credit cards or IDs. Identity thieves know how to put the pieces of those puzzles back together. The best way to destroy documents and truly keep your information safe is to work with a trusted shredding company. You can prevent identity theft with the right help — home shredders only go so far. A professional shredding company — especially one that is a AAA Certified member of the National Association for Information Destruction like Paper Tiger — offers more security, privacy and confidentiality than you likely have in your office or home.Back to Blog