Identity theft happens when your personal data is stolen. This information can be derived from your credit or debit cards, bank accounts, drivers license, social security, and more. Usually, an identity thief is interested in obtaining your information for the purpose of stealing your money directly.
Sometimes, however, identity theft is part of a larger data breach by a larger group of scammers or hackers. In some cases, a larger company or corporation has its customer IDs stolen as part of a wider breach.
Whatever the case, it can be difficult, frustrating, and even scary to learn that your ID has been stolen or that your personal data has gone public.
Luckily, there is always something you can do to recover from identity theft and protect yourself in the future. Here are a few things you can do if you
An identity thief might steal information like your Social Security number, online login or password, debit or credit card number, passport number, driver’s license information, or bank account information.
You might find out that your identity has been stolen through an email or mail notification from a company whose online presence was breached. You might also not find out until you try to take out a loan or make a significant purchase and you’re informed that someone has used your Social Security number to do so in your name.
If you get your ID stolen, the steps you should take will depend on what kind of information was breached.
If you are a victim of credit card information theft, you should let your bank know that you need a new card and close out your existing one. This is also true if your bank information was the subject of the ID theft you experienced. Close your current account, and open a new one.
If your online passwords were part of the ID theft you experienced, change all your passwords for as many online accounts as you can.
If your Social Security number was stolen, monitor your credit regularly and place a free credit freeze on your accounts so no one can make any other major purchases or financial decisions using your identity.
Finally, if your driver’s license information was used by an identity thief, report your driver’s license as stolen or missing and obtain a new one at your local DMV.