You have been notified by your bank or another company that suspicious activity was noted on your accounts. What does this mean? If you check your card statements and see purchases that you did not make, most likely someone has stolen your identity. Luckily you were notified. Sometimes people do not know they have an identity theft until their bank accounts are emptied out. So, what do you do now with a stolen identity? And how do you find out who did it? Are there ways to prevent identity theft?
Identity Theft: Who, What, Where?
Identity thieves are everywhere, throughout Atlanta. There is no way to distinguish them from regular, ordinary people. These people steal unauthorized personal information from individuals and use it to their advantage, spending hundreds or thousands on products for themselves. In addition, these identity thieves may buy credit cards or qualify for a loan using your credit record, receive medical services with your medical insurance, or get a job and receive government benefits using your social security number.
Atlanta was ranked in the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas with the most identity theft complaints. Knowing this, it’s important to understand how it happens and how you can prevent it from happening in the future. There are certain victim groups targeted by identity thieves, including seniors, military personnel, job seekers, children, and recently, people active on social media. Common places credit or debit card skimming can occur are gas stations, ATM machines, restaurants or bars, department stores, and call centers.
Stolen Identity: When, Why & How?
Identity theft happens consistently throughout the year. These people often steal identities to make a living and to buy or qualify for items they usually would not. Identity thieves take identification numbers from either skimming credit or debit cards with a small electronic reader or by physically writing down the card information. In addition, they can go through trash or recycling bins and dumpsters to look through bills, computer hard drives, and any documents that include personal information.
Identity thieves may also work for businesses like medical or government offices in order to steal information on the job. Sometimes they call individuals pretending to offer a loan or other incentive needing your personal information, and some simply steal your personal belongings to gain the information they are looking for.
What To Do Next & How To Prevent It In The Future
If you feel your identity has been stolen, you should call your bank or credit card company and have them cancel your account and create a new one. You should also place an initial fraud alert on your credit file with a company like Equifax or TransUnion and request a credit report. Lastly you should create an identity theft report by submitting an online complaint to the Federal Trade Commission and filing a police report. These steps will help solve your case while preventing the thief from taking further actions.
In order to prevent identity theft in the future, you should look for electronic chip readers at gas stations and ATMs and keep an eye on cashiers and servers when they are swiping your card. You should also always shred papers with any personal, bank or credit account information. Be cautious when giving personal information over the phone and online. Make sure you and your company use a hard drive shredding service when retiring old computers and cell phones.
In, Atlanta call PROSHRED® of Georgia if you are worried that you or your company may be at risk for identity theft. We are Georgia’s most responsive shredding company and can perform secure hard drive and paper shredding services on site or at our drop off location. We offer one-time services as well as scheduled shredding services. Call today to protect yourself and your clients from getting your identities stolen. 1-678-580-1155