Ah, the holidays, when families gather to create life’s greatest moments.
But did you know identity theft is at an all-time high during this time of year?
Here are seven facts about this silent crime that will surprise you – and help make sure you aren’t a victim.
1. Identity theft affects millions of people every year.
Two seconds. That’s how often a thief claims a new victim’s identity while showing just how easy it can be to have your life turned upside down.
2. Cybersecurity threats are becoming routine.
There are over 1,000 data breaches each year, and every data breach exposes enough personal information to make you a target! If you hear about any data breaches, the first step is to confirm the breach occurred via phone call or the company’s secure website. Never respond to an email from a company that was involved in a data breach. Scammers may reach out posing as the breached company to gather more of your personal information.
3. Your Social Security Number is the skeleton key to your finances.
Your Social Security number should only be given out if it’s absolutely necessary. If a merchant asks for your number, you should demand to know why it’s required and what will happen if you refuse. Once someone has your Social Security number, they can essentially become you.
4. Children are at risk.
It’s important to protect your children from related fraud because it can go undetected for years before a problem surfaces. Minors face some of the same risks as adults do with their information being compromised. If debt collectors are calling for your child, it’s a sign you need to investigate why.
5. Public Wi-Fi is a thief’s best friend.
With the right tools, criminals can see which websites you visit and capture your log-in credentials. Stay off public wi-fi whenever possible. If you need to join a public wi-fi network, stay away from important information like your bank or credit card accounts.
6. Hours matter when dealing with Identity theft.
In extreme cases, victims can spend months or even years resolving identity theft. Quickly catching and resolving identity theft can help you lose less money if you are ever a victim. Stay vigilant in protecting your accounts. Check them regularly and carefully. Keep a close eye on bills you expect each month and purchases on your account.
7. You can do everything right and still be a victim.
No one can 100% prevent identify theft. But it still pays to limit how much personal information you share online and elsewhere. Treat all your information as confidential, no matter who asks for it. If someone truly needs it, they will understand your wariness and give a complete explanation for why it’s necessary.
Don’t Let Identity Theft Derail Life’s Greatest Moments
Madison Mutual can give you the utmost protection, especially when it comes to identity theft. We partner with CyberScout, to create LifeStages: our maximum identity management service that provides award-winning solutions against evolving cybersecurity threats.
LifeStages takes the worry away. You and your family can rely on help from a dedicated fraud specialist whenever you need it until your issue is resolved. We’re there to educate you on developing risks, working behind the scenes to restore your peace of mind and good name.
For additional tips, visit www.madisonmutual-idtheft.com, reach out to us, or ask your agent for more information.