Broker Check
How to prevent identiy theft

How to prevent identiy theft

April 02, 2024

Here are six things a criminal can do if they steal your identity & how you can prevent them:

  1. They open credit card accounts, bank accounts and loans in your name.

Prevention: Freeze all four of your credit reports. A freeze restricts access to your credit reports and should prevent new account activity in your name. Once frozen, you must lift the freeze before you can get new credit. Freezing is highly recommended and is a proven way to protect against new account fraud. Keep your credit reports frozen indefinitely. You can freeze credit reports by mail, phone or online. It’s easiest to do it online. When freezing, you will create a PIN, which is needed to lift the freeze when necessary. Below is the contact information for the agencies.

  1. Experian: 888) 397-3742 | P.O. Box 9530 Allen, TX 75013 | www.experian.com/freeze
  2. Equifax: (800) 685-1111 | P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374 | www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services
  3. Innovis: (800) 540-2505 | P.O. Box 1640 Pittsburgh, PA 15230 | www.innovis.com/personal/securityfreeze
  4. Trans Union: (888) 909-8872 | P.O. Box 2000 Chester, PA19016 | www.transunion.com/credit-freeze

Before you freeze your credit reports, it’s a good idea to check them for unusual activity.

You are allowed four free reports each year.

To order three: www.annualcreditreport.comor 877-322-8228;

Your credit report at Innovis must be ordered from: www.innovis.com/personal/creditreport

  1. They file state and federal tax returns in your name.

Prevention: For federal taxes, depending on where you live, you might be able to get a PIN from the IRS to prevent fraud. To see if you can, go to this site: www.irs.gov. Check with your state authorities to see what methods they use to help prevent fraud. Victims won’t be able to file tax return in the normal manner. But they still must pay their tax on time!

  1. They get medical care or prescription drugs in your name.

Prevention: Notify your medical insurance provider if you have been a victim of any other form of identity theft. Check your health insurance statements carefully. If a criminal uses your identity to receive medical services, not only does it defraud the insurance provider, but it could create entries in your permanent medical record for procedures you did not receive and conditions that you don’t have.

  1. They file for social security benefits in your name (if you’re eligible.)

Prevention: Create an online social security account at www.ssa.gov. When you create an online account, it does not mean that you have to collect benefits, just that a criminal can’t do that in your name. Note that you can create your online account at any age and track your benefits throughout your lifetime through this online portal.

 

  1. They file for unemployment benefits using your identity.

Prevention: There has been a large increase in fraudulent unemployment claims using stolen identities. Criminals filing for benefits using a stolen identity must have the personal information of the victim. It is important to be wary of telephone calls, text messages, letters, non-verified websites, or emails that require you to provide sensitive information, including birth dates and social security numbers. If you have become a victim, contact your employer and your state unemployment office to report the fraud and follow their instructions regarding resolution.

  1. They steal the identity of a deceased person.

Prevention: Identity theft could happen after someone dies. A criminal may use a deceased person's details to drain accounts, set up new loans, steal government benefits and more. Here is what you should do: Get copies of the official death certificate and provide it to all four credit bureaus and the deceased’s financial institutions.

All information is from Jeff Lanza's presentation summary notes.

Timothy Miller & Stephanie Hunter

stephanie.hunter@benchmarkfa.com

724-719-3278

Benchmark Financial
Financial Advisor

http://www.benchmarkfa.com/

 

Individuals affiliated with this broker/dealer firm are either Registered Representatives who offer only brokerage services and receive transaction-based compensation (commissions), Investment Adviser Representatives who offer only investment advisory services and receive fees based on assets, or both Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives, who can offer both types of services.