Identity Theft vs Credit & Debit Card Phishing

Is a very hot topic and isn’t going away. Your Personal identification information is stored everywhere; doctors, offices, colleges, employers, government and its accessible if someone really wants it there is no 100% secured platform but I don’t need to tell you that we see it on the news weekly, all the security breaches. And that doesn’t include your bank, credit or debit card information being compromised.

Identity theft is when someone gets a hold of your some or all of your personal information such as your driver’s license info, social security card number, name, date of birth, address and can use this information to do a lot of bad such as, open credit accounts in your name, file taxes, and even commit crimes.

Then you have debit or credit card information that is compromised. This can happen by shopping online by using your card at what appears to be a legitimate website but the thief has set up to false page or can redirect the cad info to them, this is known as phishing. If using your card in person at an ATM or card swiper that has been tampered with to captures your card info and give access to the thief. If you find authorized charges on your debit or credit card it doesn’t necessarily mean that your Identity has been stolen, more than likely it’s just that card.

Here’s a few tips to protect yourself and what to do if you become a victim of Identity theft just to name a few.
When online try to use a credit card instead of a debit card, reason being that your debit card is linked to your bank account, while a credit card is exactly that its credit that has been extended and poses less risk and exposure to you personally. In the event your card has been compromised notify your bank or credit card company immediately and in almost all cases they will immediately close the card so no more charges can be made and generally they will work with you very quickly to credit you the loss. However, do follow their instructions to complete the process, this may include the items listed below.

If your identity has been compromised, you need to take the following action

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting the 3 credit bureaus Experian, Equifax and Transunion. This will make it nearly impossible for the thief to get any credit extended.
  • File a police report that states you have been a victim of Identity theft and any information that you have relating to the case.
  • Fill out a Identity Theft Affidavits and have it notarized, list all the accounts that have been compromised and as much information you have about the incident.
  • Mail the police report and the Identity Theft Affidavit and a letter to the 3 credit bureaus stating that these items are not your and to remove them from your credit report.
  • Contact the creditors let them know what is going on and get the correct address to submit the Identity theft affidavit, the police report and any other information they request
  • Follow up with the credit bureaus and creditors to make sure they are on top of your case.
  • You can also contact the IRS, if you believe someone maybe using your social security number for tax or other IRS related issues.

This maybe a long process just make sure to document every step of the way and if seems overwhelming or if you run into road blocks seek the help of an experienced professional.