The National Police Association reports cases of Identity theft have been on the rise recently, with many people reporting having fallen victim to the crime and not even knowing it. Theft of identity facilitates crimes such as document fraud or card forgeries. This crime negatively affects each citizen who falls prey and the nation’s security as a whole.
What is identity theft?
ID theft occurs when another person accesses your personal information and uses said information, personally benefiting from it. The National Police Association notes that thieves use stolen identities to commit white-collar financial crimes such as submitting illegal loan applications, creating unauthorized access to medical services, or fraudulent filing of taxes. All of these white-collar crimes expose the victims to long-term financial consequences. It can take months or even years for victims to recover the credit lost to fraudsters. Sometimes in the recovery process, victims must confront bills from accounts they did not open or past due payments for goods they knew nothing about.
Identity theft is a huge violation for each individual to whom it happens and the National Police Association wants you to know that by taking preventative measures now, you greatly weaken the possibilities of anyone stealing your identity in the future.
Types of id theft
According to the National Police Association, the most commonly reported identity thefts include:
● Drivers’ license theft
● Tax id theft:
● Medical id theft
Drivers’ license theft occurs when someone uses your license to make illegal purchases or procure other types of identifications using their photos.
Tax id theft occurs when someone uses your social security number to file taxes with your state or the IRS.
Debit or credit card fraud; occurs when someone uses your credit card to make purchases or credit other accounts.
Medical id theft occurs when someone uses your health insurance number/card to access medical services or make claims to your insurance provider.
How to Know Your Identity Has Been Stolen
Signs someone stole your identity:
● You start receiving bills for goods or services you did not purchase.
● You start getting calls from accounts you did not open
● You notice withdrawals from your bank account or credit card charges that are unfamiliar
● You receive unexpected changes in your credit score or get credit reports from accounts you don’t recognize.
How Do You Avoid Identity Theft
Since id theft has become rampant in today’s society, everyone should familiarize themselves with some measures to ensure their identity’s safety.
The following are tips you can use to secure your personal information:
- Keep your social security number safe at all times and avoid carrying your card in your wallet.
- Do not share your social security number unless it is for critical purposes such as financial transactions or work-related matters.
- Unless you absolutely must, do not share personal information such as bank account numbers or birth dates.
- Before disposing of any documents that might contain your personal information, ensure they are shredded.
- Your personal information or credit applications need not be in your mailbox for long. They could land in the wrong hands.
- Always use a variety of passwords on your technology gadgets such as smartphones and laptops.
- Make sure your computer has reliable antispyware and antivirus.
What Should You Do If You Fall Victim?
If you become a victim of id theft, the National Police Association advises you to report the theft to your local police jurisdiction and file a police report immediately. File complaints of id theft with the Federal Trade Commission either online or by making a call to 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
A police report is also necessary. Filling that at your local station protects you if the thief uses your identity to commit crimes. You should also take steps to create a fraud or freeze alert on your credit report.
In the case of medical fraud, notify your medical service providers and your insurer and have copies of your medical files corrected.
If fraudsters steal your tax id information, file a report and contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) immediately.
National Police Association Stresses Preventative Measures
Taking preventative measures to make it next to impossible for anyone to steal your identity. Spending the time upfront securing those VIP documents and online pages will save you a ton of time and money spent on the backside of the crime if it were ever to happen to you. The National Police Association continually stresses the importance of staying protected and ahead of these crimes. It doesn’t take too much time to make sure there is that extra bit of security around your identifying documents. You do not want to know what happens in the sad event that someone is able to steal your identity. It can wreak havoc on your finances, credit score, and so much more.
The National Police Association wants everyone to outsmart identity theft before it ever becomes a reality. Protect yourself and tell those you love how to do the same.
About the National Police Association
The National Police Association utilizes a dynamic combination of education, assertive legal filings, in-depth investigations, and clear communications to advance a mission of combating the influence of anti-police activists and helping to hold them accountable. The NPA uses the law as a method to highlight abuses by anti-police elected officials, change behavior, and seek corrective action. In addition, the National Police Association promotes policies that encourage public officials to work with the police in the public interest, not for the benefit of powerful special interests. www.nationalpolice.org
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