As a consumer, your credit score is vital, and as such, you take the necessary measures to make on-time payments and informed purchases. However, when you check your credit report, you may panic when you notice purchases and accounts in your name that you never opened. If this is the case, you may be the victim of online identity theft, which requires the assistance of a Los Angeles, California identity theft lawyer to get your credit back on track. The following blog explores how this occurs and what you can do to shield yourself from those looking to steal your information.
How Does Online Identity Theft Happen?
Though the internet is a great place, it is everchanging. This means those looking to steal identities are relying on both new and old methods to glean important information from unsuspecting consumers.
While identity theft has occurred for a while via physical theft from mailboxes, purses, trash, and the copying of credit card numbers, online identity theft impacts many people due to the vast number of schemes and scams used.
For example, there are thieves who will create duplicate sites that look similar enough to the actual website for the average person not to notice any minor differences. As such, the user will input their information, like usernames and passwords, without realizing the website is fraudulent.
Similarly, downloaded malware may read data from devices to steal information straight from the source, meaning any information you put in your phone may be stolen. Also, hackers can access wireless networks and breach data records, which places your personal information in the hands of thieves.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
Luckily, there are many steps you can take to help protect yourself from those who want to steal your identity. First and foremost, you may want to invest in security software for your electronic devices. This helps prevent malware and viruses from impacting your computer and smartphone.
You should also brush up on common phishing scams. These usually look like social media, text, or voicemail messages that provide a link. Often, these will tell the recipient they must update their information or that the account has been violated. As a result, users will log in with their information, inviting hackers to steal data. When in doubt, it’s best to contact the company contacting you to verify the communications. For example, if you receive a text from your bank and you’re unsure whether or not it is a legitimate text, you can call their customer helpline and speak directly to a representative.
What Should I Do if My Identity Is Stolen?
If your identity is stolen, you should immediately contact the three major credit bureaus to place a credit freeze on your accounts. You should also contact the fraud divisions anywhere you have a bank account, credit card, or loan to inform them that your identity has been compromised.
You should then contact an experienced identity theft lawyer from LA Legal Solutions. Unfortunately, when your information is stolen, it can create significant issues in your personal and financial life. Our dedicated legal team will work hard to help you get back on track. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.