stressed man with glasses

Identity theft occurs when an unauthorized entity gains access to your sensitive information to pretend to be you. Often, these individuals will make purchases or open accounts in your name to avoid paying. This can leave you with a severely damaged credit score, as they will not make payments on this account. As such, you can suffer from being denied loans, housing, and even jobs because of poor credit caused by identity theft. If you’re worried about this happening to you, the following blog explores the steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft. You’ll also discover how a San Diego County identity theft lawyer can help you.

How Can I Protect Myself From Identity Theft?

If you are worried about being a victim of identity theft, it’s important to understand the steps you can take to prevent your information from being accessed by those with bad intentions. One of the most important things you can do is be careful of your online presence. When you share information like your full name and birthday on social media accounts, others can easily find and use this information.

Additionally, you should be wary of what websites you share your details with. This includes your personal information, credit card numbers, and even your social security number. Be sure to vet any website before sharing these details. In most instances, you should be able to only provide the last four digits of your social security number to verify your identity. If the website asks for more and is not an established institution like a bank or lender, you may want to refrain from sharing.

It’s also important to familiarize yourself with phishing scams, which occur when hackers and thieves pretend to be reputable institutions. For example, you may receive an email from your “bank” telling you there’s an issue with your account and asking you to log in. Though the email looks like something you would receive from your bank, if there are formatting errors, typos, or vague greetings, it is likely a scam. Do not click the link or input your information. If you have concerns, call your bank to confirm whether or not there are any issues.

What Should I Do if My Identity Is Compromised?

If you believe your identity has been compromised, knowing how to respond is crucial. The first thing you should do is contact the three major credit reporting agencies and ask them to place a freeze on your name. This prevents the person with your information from opening new accounts or taking out loans in your name. Next, you will want to contact any financial institutions to alert them of the theft and report any unauthorized transactions.

Once you have done that, you’ll want to file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They will provide an individualized guide on how to repair your credit.

When you need assistance restoring your identity after it’s been compromised, understanding the steps you must take is crucial. As such, it’s in your best interest to contact an attorney from the Law Office of Barthel Legal to guide you. Not only can our dedicated team walk you through the process of reclaiming your identity, but they may be able to help you recover damages from the thief or company responsible for failing to secure your information. Contact our firm today to discuss the details of your case with a member of our committed team.