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ID theft can lead to devastating financial losses, but it can also cause even more serious damage. Thieves who commit fraud and other crimes in your name can leave you with a criminal record or even possible jail time.

How ID’s may be stolen

Criminals can acquire your personal information in any number of ways: via lost or stolen personal papers, credit cards or ID cards, through Internet or phone scams, or by buying your information from other thieves.

How Thieves Use Your ID

Criminals may use your name when committing a crime. For example, they might solicit funds for a false charity or advertise a fake product or business using your name. Criminals may also use fake ID with your name when caught by authorities, for example, for traffic violations. Either way, you’re the one left with the legal troubles when law enforcement comes looking for the guilty party. And proving after the fact that you’re innocent can take many months and significant sums of money spent on legal fees.

Some Tips for How to Protect Yourself

Protect yourself against criminal ID theft by guarding all the avenues thieves have to reach your personal information:

  • Never discard personal information intact or leave it where thieves can find it.
  • Follow all the rules to secure your computers, networks, and Internet communications.
  • Be watchful for phone and mail scams. Make sure organizations and their representatives are legitimate before ever giving personal information.
  • Be careful of sharing personal information in a public place where thieves can observe you.
  • Make photocopies of the fronts and backs of your credit cards, driver’s license, and passport and store the copies someplace other than your wallet in case of theft.
  • Monitor credit report, bills, and other communications for any sign of unauthorized usage.
  • If you have reason to believe information has been stolen, report it promptly. If you suspect criminal ID theft, you can also get a background check on yourself and look for any false reports.

A Free Guide on How To Secure Your Identity & Protect Your Data