Identity theft is a serious concern for individuals not only in the US but across the world. According to Federal Trade Commission data, losses from identity theft had cost American citizens over $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, an increase of more than 70% over the previous year.  Identity theft is the crime of obtaining the personal or financial information of another person to use a person’s identity to commit fraud. Imposter scams, online shopping scams, sweepstakes and lotteries are some common scams that criminals use to get unsuspecting people to divulge their personal financial details. As identity fraud is on the rise, ignoring it is not advisable. Here are some useful insights on identity theft protection by a reputed identity theft attorney in California:

How is identity theft committed?

Identity theft is a serious crime that can have long-lasting consequences. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prevent, as thieves are constantly finding new ways to obtain personal information. However, there are a few things that you can do to help protect yourself.

  • Be mindful of where you keep your wallet or purse. Identity thieves often target public places, such as restaurants and shopping malls.
  • Keep an eye on your mail and trash. Shred documents that contain personal information, before throwing them away.
  • Be cautious about giving out your personal information, even to businesses or organizations that you trust.
  • Avoid using unsecured websites.

If you have been a victim of identity theft, here are some useful insights for you on fighting identity theft:

1. Notify companies where fraudulent transactions have occurred:

It’s important to act quickly if you think your identity has been stolen. Notify companies and agencies where fraudulent transactions have occurred and get the cards blocked so that thieves cannot misuse it further. If a person opens an account in your name or misuses your Social Security number, you have to contact federal law agencies such as the IRS and FTC.

2. Check for viruses in your computer:

If you use your computer to access sensitive online accounts, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of malicious computer programs, or “malware.” If your computer is infected with malware, a hacker could gain access to sensitive data such as your bank information or credit card number. That’s why it’s important to install a good antivirus program on your computer. 

3. Secure your identity proof:

When you are placing a fraud alert with law enforcement agencies, you are required to file an affidavit. To file this affidavit, you will need a valid government-issued photo identification card such as driver’s license, state-issued ID card, passport, or Social Security Number. In simple words, other than the document that has been compromised, you will need other supporting documents to file an affidavit and thus, you must secure them.

4. File a complaint with the FTC:

When you file a report with the FTC, your information will be entered into a database that is accessible by law enforcement across the country. In addition, you can print out a copy of your report to show to the police when you file your report.

5. Report to the police:

This will create a paper trail that can be helpful if you need to prove to creditors or others that you were the victim of identity theft. However, it is important to keep in mind that the police may or may not actually pursue the matter. Even so, it is still helpful to have a record of the incident.

6. Hire a reputed theft attorney:

If you are a victim of identity theft, hire an experienced identity theft attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights and develop a plan to recover your losses and remedy the damages caused by identity theft.

If you are looking for an identity theft attorney in California, contact David L Fleck. He has decades of experience in handling complex financial crimes, such as identity theft, investment, real estate, insurance, business and loan fraud.