Identity Theft 101
Speak to any identity theft lawyer New York, NY has to offer, and you’ll likely hear that it’s very difficult to keep your identity secure these days. You probably pay some or most of your bills online. You’ve likely shopped and purchased items on internet sites, applied for credit, registered for school, or searched the web for a good deal on a car. We have all heard about the massive data breaches and hacked accounts that have affected millions of people.
Unfortunately, it’s probably too late to keep all of your personal information private. Instead, it’s best to assume that your personal data has already been exposed and is in the hands of criminals who are either preparing to sell your data to other criminals or planning to use it themselves.
So, what are you to do now? An experienced identity theft lawyer New York, NY provides might suggest the following steps to minimize the chances of having your identity stolen.
First, treat your Social Security Number (SSN) like the precious commodity that it is. Be very careful giving out your number and make sure that the receiving party has a good reason to have it. Almost all legitimate companies and financial institutions will never ask for your SSN or personal information in an email. Do not give it over the phone unless you know who you are speaking with and have good reason to know why the information is needed. Make sure that you regularly check your credit report for erroneous charges or fake accounts created with your identity. Similarly, check your credit card statements for unfamiliar charges that suggest an unauthorized person is using your credit card data. Don’t hesitate to contact a identity theft lawyer New York, NY residents trust if you notice a charge on your card that you didn’t make.
Take the time to really think about your passwords. Sure, it’s a hassle to use complex passwords, change them regularly, and maintain high privacy settings on your online accounts — but it’s a much bigger headache to be a victim of identity fraud. Take the time to craft passwords that contain a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Do not use birth dates or anniversary dates. Also, remember that social media sites are a great place to interact with friends and let them know about details of your life, meaning they’re also great places for thieves to find personal information that may help them hack into one of your accounts.
Mailboxes are prime targets for criminals because most are left unattended with sensitive mail for at least part of the day. Don’t leave your outgoing bills in the mailbox — the raised flag notifies criminals that you have something to steal. For incoming mail, consider a locking or spring-loaded mailbox that denies thieves easy access. Shred any unwanted mail containing personal and account information. This is one of the easiest ways a thief can collect sensitive information, as a dedicated identity theft lawyer in New York, NY likely knows.
Lastly, simply be aware of important items. Do not leave your driver’s license, credit cards, Social Security information, or deposit slips in plain sight. Whether you are in line at the checkout or on the bus, assume that someone may be trying to steal your personal information. Once you start thinking this way and looking at all of the opportunities for personal information theft, you will create a protective mindset. No strategy is foolproof, but some simple precautions can go a long way to reduce your odds of becoming a victim of fraud and having to deal with months or even years of painstakingly restoring your credit.
Contact an Identity Theft Lawyer New York, NY Residents Depend On
If you or anyone close to you has been the victim of identity theft, notify the police immediately. You should also notify all three major credit agencies and all of your financial institutions. You should also consult a NYC identity theft lawyer. These attorneys have experience with protecting the rights of identity theft victims, and they understand the rights and remedies that may be available to you under federal and state laws.
To speak with an identity theft lawyer New York, NY families trust, contact Okun, Oddo & Babat, P.C. today.