In today's age of information, it is unfortunately very possible for someone to steal your identity and cause financial harm. While we hope that large companies in possession of our sensitive information will be careful with that information, data breaches are becoming more and more common, compromising the personal data of millions of individuals.
If you have been a victim of identity theft, it can have serious repercussions in your life. Identity theft is a crime, but it is often difficult to track down the individual in possession of your information. However, that does not mean there’s nothing you can do. Call Markoff Leinberger at 877-905-5161 to schedule your free consultation. We can help you through the steps of securing your information and help you receive financial damages you may be entitled to.
Types of Identity Theft
There are many different types of identity theft, which may require you to take different steps after discovering you are a victim. Some of the main types are:
- Social security identity theft: This is when someone gains possession of your social security number and uses it to open new credit cards or loans, start a new job, obtain medical services, or perform other criminal activity.
- Medical identity theft: This is when someone gains access to your medical benefits and uses them for medical care. Data breaches are unfortunately common in the medical field, with over 27% of data breaches in 2017 occurring in medical or healthcare services.
- Credit card identity theft: If someone gains access to your credit card number, whether through stealing the actual card or through a data breach, they can rack up debt in your name and ruin your credit score.
- Tax identity theft: If someone knows your social security number and your name, they can file a fraudulent tax return in order to receive a tax refund.
Preventing Identity Theft
While there is unfortunately no surefire way to guarantee that you won’t ever have your identity stolen, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and to catch identity theft early, before too much damage is done.
These steps can help you reduce your risk of being a victim of identity theft:
- Shred all documents that contain sensitive information, instead of just throwing them away
- Keep your social security card and important financial documents in a secure space
- Don’t give out your social security number or credit card information over the phone, email, or regular mail unless you can verify the identity of the person or institution asking for it
- Make sure your passwords are secure and not easily guessable
- Cover your PIN when making a transaction at an ATM
- Keep an eye on your credit card and bank statements, and call immediately if you notice any strange transactions
- If you lose your credit card, immediately call to cancel the card and get a new one
Signs of Identity Theft
You should always keep a close eye on your finances, bills, medical statements, and credit report. The sooner you catch any attempts at identity theft, the better. If an identity thief goes undetected for too long, they can cause harm that could take a long time to rectify and make your life extremely difficult.
Signs to watch for include:
- Credit card transactions that you don’t recognize
- Calls from debt collectors about debts you shouldn’t have
- Sudden drops in your credit score that you can’t explain
- Denied medical coverage because your insurance company says you’ve reached your limit
- Unexpected medical bills
- Contacted by the IRS about taxes not filed, more than one tax return being filed, or claiming income from a place you never worked
What to Do If You Suspect Identity Theft
The minute you notice something odd about your statements, bills, taxes, medical insurance, or anything else related to your identity and finances, you should contact all relevant parties and take all necessary steps to stop the identity thief from further using your identity. The FTC has a website where you can report identity theft and get a recovery plan personalized to your circumstances.
After you’ve initiated your identity theft report, you should call the identity theft lawyers at Markoff Leinberger for a free consultation. We can help you with any questions you have about the identity theft reporting process, and we may be able to help you file a lawsuit against any liable parties in order to recover financial damages.
Schedule Your Identity Theft Consultation Today
If you have been the victim of identity theft, call Markoff Leinberger today at 877-905-5161 to schedule your free consultation. We serve clients in Chicago and nationwide.