Identity protection works to help protect you from hackers and theft of your sensitive data. Identity theft occurs when a criminal acquires your personal information, often in order to steal money or other assets from you. This can happen in a variety of ways, including the following:
- Dumpster diving: Identity thieves can learn a lot about you, just by looking through your trash. Discarded bills and employment papers can be a jackpot for an identity thief.
- Mail theft: Identity thieves can simply rifle through your mail to find credit card applications, bills and other sensitive documents.
- Data breach: Tech-savvy identity thieves can sometimes breach computer security measures in order to gain access to your personal data and information. Unfortunately, your personal information can be breached from many places, including the doctor’s office, retail stores, schools and other institutions.
Identity protection services keep an eye out for unusual activity that might indicate identity theft. Although identity protection services cannot completely prevent identity theft, they can lessen your chances of becoming a victim.
For instance, identity protection services will help you monitor your credit report and alert you if they spot unusual activity. Detecting identity theft early can save you a lot of hassle and headache down the road. In many cases, the longer identity theft remains undetected, the more serious it can become.
Identity theft vs. identity fraud
Identity theft and identity fraud are not synonymous. Identity theft occurs when a criminal illegally acquires a victim’s personal information. On the other hand, identity fraud occurs when a criminal actually uses this information in order to commit a crime.
Identity fraud crimes can range from tax fraud to insurance fraud to health care fraud. Identity protection is important because it may help victims recognize identity theft before it turns into serious fraud. By paying attention to crucial signs, victims can stop fraud before it becomes more serious.