Credit card fraud has gotten more prevalent in the past several years. It used to be a lot more difficult before, when stealing credit card information required actual possession of the card. However, today, virtual access is sufficient in order for the financial identity and security of a person to be compromised.
Child credit fraud with lost cards has been rather common as well. One may think that children are not going to be affected. The reality, however, is that they are in fact more susceptible than anyone else. According to researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University, while less than one percent of adults were victims of identity theft in a year, 10% of children were victims of the crime.
Then again, although the number may appear small for the adults as compared to the children, it does not mean that the adults are any safer. Having one’s identity stolen can occur in a variety of ways:
1 Lost cards id theft
2 Phishing/ skimming
3 Credit scams
4 Social network exposure
5 Social Security number
The most logical way to keep safe from these would be, of course, to secure cards. To do this, the card owner may simply employ the help of the banking institution involved. They should have a system put in place, which should take care of your account should the stealing or loss occur. There are also a lot of things that the card owners can do by themselves to ensure that they do not fall victim to identity fraud:
Keep personal information private and secure at all times (Social Security Number, address, birthdays, license number, etc). Regularly change passwords to online accounts (social networks, online banking) Should the card be used, always keep it in your sight, especially when paying for a transaction. Leave unnecessary cards at home or in a safe vault when travelling. Speaking of travelling, you should know that there are also some quick steps when ID theft occurs while on vacation that you can do.
1. Freeze accounts – The first thing that you should do is to call your bank and have them freeze your account. By informing them that your card may have been compromised, you are already preventing further damage to your account. From their end, your bank should be able to update you if there have been any suspicious transactions made using your card.
2. Report to the Authorities – If your card was stolen, then you should report it to the police. The sooner you inform them about the crime committed against you, the better they can help you with it. Physical possession of a stolen card is obviously a criminal offense. Fortunately, these cards can be tracked every time they are swiped on the machine. If you act quickly, the police may even be able to catch the perpetrators.
3. Reset your passwords – As another precaution, immediately reset your passwords as well. If the identity thieves can have access to your credit card information, then there is also a good probability that they will also be able to use your other personal details for their own sinister plans. Since the crime has already been committed, what you should be focusing on now is how to contain the damage the best way possible. Changing your passwords can make it tougher for them to access your other accounts, instead of letting them have a financial buffet at your expense.
These may all seem tedious, but there is no doubt as to how necessary all these steps are. Simple as they may be, it will surely help you keep your financial identity secure. After all, that is the entire point of why you should guard yourselves against identity thieves.
Repercussions of Identity Theft
The repercussions of getting your card lost or stolen are vast and grave. Aside from having to pay for purchases that you did not make, the other risk is that it might damage your financial reputation.
Of course, that would depend on just how much resources are available to you. Nonetheless, the crime of identity theft can be used in many ways. It can be for monetary gain, employment opportunities, heavy financial transactions and investments, and so much more.
This problem is going to be so much more difficult for children who have had their social security numbers used by an unauthorized person. By the time they reach adulthood, their credit would have already suffered from wrongful and unjust use. Most adults who had their financial identities stolen from them when they were a kid all say that they did not find out until they started building their own credit. It definitely is a shock to find that there is already something there, and yet it is your first time to use the account.
That is why constant vigilance still remains to be the best deterrent and protection from identity theft. If you have any more suggestions or stories to share about identity theft and how it can be avoided, feel free to share in our comments section below.
About The Author
Amy Johnson is an active finance blogger who is fond of sharing interesting finance related articles to encourage people to manage and protect their finances.