Identity theft is when someone uses your personal information, such as your Social Security number, to open new accounts, steal your tax return, or receive certain benefits. They could rent an apartment, apply for loans, or get a credit card in your name. And it can make your life difficult while you try to recover your credit rating.
Anyone can be a victim of fraud, and sometimes it’s not enough just to freeze your credit (though you should definitely start there). Fortunately, you can take several steps to protect yourself and your family.
Children are assigned a Social Security number at birth, and in the wrong hands, this can be used to open fraudulent accounts and lower your child’s credit score—all before they’re even old enough to have a piggy bank.
But don’t be too concerned; there are many ways you can prevent this. Only share your children’s Social Security number with trusted parties, keep their documents in a safe place, and always shred identifying documents before you throw them away.
To learn more about keeping your children safe from fraud, check out our detailed guide.
Teenagers are at special risk for fraud simply because they spend so much time online and are exposed to so many phishing opportunities. Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain someone’s password or credit card information. Once a thief has this information, they can make fraudulent purchases or access sensitive information.
To keep your teens in the know, show them this guide to avoiding fraud.
The best way to guard against elder fraud is to learn about it. Charity fraud, prescription fraud, and phishing scams are just a few of the dangers to look out for. You can help prevent fraud by always thoroughly researching organizations before giving them personal information as well as taking the time to review your debit and credit card statements every month
Learn more in our guide to avoiding senior fraud.
Fraud is scary, because it can happen to anyone. It’s great to take protective measures. But, if your info has been exposed in the data breach and you monitor your identity and check out your credit report and find that you’ve been targeted for fraud, there are steps you can take. We hope this information is helpful to you! And if you ever have any questions about fraud, be sure to ask at your local credit union.