What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a crime where key pieces of your personal information are obtained to impersonate you. Examples include: date of birth, social security number, employer identification information, credit and debit card numbers, bank account information, or driver’s license numbers.
Although some of this information may be public by nature, most is private and inadvertently shared electronically or on paper. All of this information gives identity thieves ammunition to do what they’re named after—steal your identity— to apply for credit, purchase goods and services, or gain access to your financial accounts.
How It Can Harm You
Having your identity stolen can be detrimental to your life and your livelihood. Not only does it affect your credit score, but it’s an intrusion of your personal and professional space. Protecting your identity ensures your credit and financial accounts are more likely to remain secure, and limits the number of imposters available to impersonate you. E-commerce, banking, and other institutions seek out identity thieves every day, but your identity is your responsibility. Your effort is literally worth everything.
What You Can Do About It
With diligence and a few simple steps, you can minimize the probability of becoming a victim of identity theft.
You are the first line of defense.
Enable Two-Step Verification
By combining something you know (password) with something you possess (mobile device), Two-Step Verification significantly increases your ability to protect access to your Viewpost account. If you have a Viewpost account, set up Two-Step Verification today.
Hide Your Unique Identifiers
Never provide your social security number unless you’ve initiated the contact and have confirmed the business or person’s identity. It’s always a good idea to shred and reduce the amount of mail and paper containing your personal information.
Review Your Credit Report
Order a free copy of your credit report every 12 months:
- Online—Annual Credit Report
Monitor your credit score annually (at least) from the three credit reporting agencies:
Quick Tip: Create passwords with at least 8 characters that incorporate upper and lower case, special characters, and numbers. Use a different password for online banking sites than passwords you may use for other online accounts.
Report Identity Theft
If you have suspicions that your identity might be stolen, take action immediately.
- Report fraud or identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (1.877.ID.THEFT)
- Report improper use of your social security number to the Social Security Administration Hotline at 1.800.269.0271
Learn more about protecting yourself from identity theft at these resources: