Nowadays, it is more important than ever before to keep your data safe. Unfortunately, hackers have more access to sensitive data than ever before and there are multiple ways in which you can become a victim of social security ID theft. By understanding how hackers can use your information for social security ID theft, you should be able to minimize your chances of becoming a victim entirely. In this article, we will be going over some of the different ways hackers use your information, how they get it, and what you should do to protect yourself.
What Exactly Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is something that occurs when someone steals your information and fakes your identity. Typically, they will either use your identity to open up credit cards, empty your bank account, or even breach different services you might be a member of. Because of the amount of information readily available to hackers nowadays, just about anyone could become a victim of identity theft at some point.
Whether they obtain your information from a data breach from a popular retailer or from browsing on public WiFi, they can gain access to various accounts that you might have no matter how secure it is. This is especially true with hackers becoming increasingly resourceful and intelligent with the way they go about using the information they get.
How Hackers Use Your Information:
1. Credit Card or Loans
One of the major ways a hacker users your identity to steal from you is by opening up credit cards and getting loans. They do this in order to really make the score a big one. After all, credit cards can offer much more rewards to a potential hacker than other things. When you open up a credit card, you are going to have a credit card limit that they will be able to hit. Therefore, it is typically the most sought after way they use your information at your expense. They are typically able to do this by obtaining your information such as your social security number which will allow them to apply for a loan and/or credit card and begin using it.
2. Stealing Your Tax Refund
Another big form of fraud that is used with stolen social security numbers is tax refund scams. Unfortunately, tax refunds have become very easy to intercept when you have someone that has the right information. Unfortunately, hackers are able to intercept your tax refund by filing fake tax returns using your pertinent information including your social security number, birth date, and other personal information. This is especially true for those that wait until the last minute to file for a refund because they are likely going to be the ones that are dealing with the theft to begin with. The best way to prevent this from happening is by ensuring that you never click on suspicious emails or links, avoid downloading viruses or malware on your computer, and by protecting all of your data as best possible.
3. Utility Accounts
Another big way that a lot of hackers attempt to use your information is by signing up for utility accounts. They sign up for utility accounts which they never end up paying. This can cause you to accumulate all kinds of unpaid utility bills. This is a big issue because the accounts can accumulate in hefty amounts which can really cause issues with your credit.
4. Medical Fraud
Another big issue that can crop up from hackers and the information that they steal is by racking up medical bills in the thousands. They can steal your information and use your social security number and even your health insurance number which could open you up to being responsible for paying a lot of money in unpaid medical bills. This is why it is so important to look at your medical bills regularly and your insurance statements to ensure that nothing is there that shouldn’t be.
How To Protect Yourself:
1. Check Your Credit Reports
One of the most important things that you are going to want to do when you are looking to protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft would have to be checking your credit reports regularly. You want to check the different items on your credit report on a consistent basis because it could prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft. While this method certainly won’t stop hackers from signing up using your social security number, it can prevent you from becoming a victim of long term identify theft.
2. Sign Up For Credit Monitoring
Another thing that you can do to prevent it from becoming too much of an issue would be to sign up for some form of premium credit monitoring service. You want to sign up for something like this because it is going to alert you to whenever someone attempts to sign up for something using your social security number. This is one of the best ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim because you are going to get alerted to anything that happens involving your social security number.
3. Use Strong Passwords
Another big thing that you are going to want to do to protect yourself from becoming a victim would have to be to use strong passwords on every account that you have. Ideally, you want to use strong passwords on every account that you have. But you especially want to pay attention to the accounts that feature sensitive data. By doing this, you are going to be able to make it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to sensitive information that you have. You also want to be sure that each password you are using for each account is different so one single breach doesn’t expose your sensitive information and all of your accounts.
Overall, there are a lot of different things that you are going to want to do to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft. By following the tips above from Application Filing, you should be able to minimize the chances that you become a victim due to hackers.