According to a 2017 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, over $107 billion has been stolen by identity thieves and 10% of that is stolen right from your smartphone. Think about all the things you do from your phone. There is an application for almost everything you could imagine and most of your most personal information is saved in that one place.We use our phones as a second lifeline. You can purchase almost anything in a matter of seconds. All your information is easily accessible to the right hacker. By using secure Wi-Fi, creating a lock code, and keeping your software up to date, you can help prevent someone from stealing your identity through your phone.
There’s also another way your information could be stolen from your phone and that’s through social media. Believe it or not, social media makes it simple for thieves to steal your personal information. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, receive revenue from targeted advertising campaigns. They want you to provide as much information as possible so their clients can receive the best results and chances are you’ve already given a lot of this information to them. Unfortunately, there’s little regulation from the government and few industry standards. This can be a recipe for disaster depending on who is handling the information at any given time.
Here are a few things Simply Money Advisors believes you should be aware of to help protect your identity from being stolen.
Identity theft was at an all-time high in 2016
According to Javelin Strategy & Research, identity theft was up 13.1% since last year. Despite brick-and-mortar stores being required to use credit card chip readers now, identity theft was still on the rise. It is important to know that even with all security measures in place, your personal information may still be accessible.
Rise of the medical sector theft
Unlike bank or credit card fraud, medical fraud is often hard to detect. Your bank or credit card company will probably notify you of any fraudulent activity and you are generally protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act. But, medical fraud can go undetected for a long time if you’re not careful. By regularly checking your credit report, understanding your insurance benefits, and looking out for mail about your insurance, it will be easier for you to protect against this type of fraud. And one more thing, if a hospital or doctor’s office asks for your Social Security number, don’t give it to them. It’s not required information.
Your children’s identity may also be at risk
Recently, there has been an uptick in children’s Social Security numbers being stolen. Thieves are taking out lines of credit and opening accounts using these number. Many times the “thief” is a family member too. Chances are this crime won’t be detected until the child turns 18 and discovers this information on their credit report. It’s important to apply security measures to your children’s accounts. Simply Money Advisors recommends you put a credit or security freeze on your child's credit report. This is done by contacting the credit bureaus, the big three are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. The cost is minimal and this will prevent a thief from using a child’s Social Security number to open new accounts. We strongly suggest you do this with your own credit reports too. It's simple to lift the freeze should you need to open an account or apply for a loan.
The Simply Money Point
With the use of technology, it has become easier than ever to steal your identity. Simply Money Advisors encourages you to take precautions to protect yourself. Make sure you are checking your credit report regularly. This is a great place to see if there is any suspicious activity. Create various security codes and different passwords for all your accounts and devices too. Protecting your identity may take time but it’s better to be EXTRA safe than REALLY sorry.
Finding out if you're on track to meet your financial goals starts with having a personalized financial plan. We invite you to talk with our team at Simply Money Advisors.