Unfortunately, with so many scams circulating, trying to keep up can be difficult. However, if there is one scam you should pay attention to, it’s synthetic identity theft. Though this sounds like a made-up term for a science-fiction movie, this crime is real, with significant impacts on victims. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it’s imperative to keep reading. You’ll learn what this means and the steps you can take to protect yourself with the assistance of a Los Angeles, California identity theft lawyer.
What Does Synthetic Identity Theft Mean?
Unfortunately, synthetic identity theft is a fast-growing way for criminals to prey on vulnerable citizens. Generally, a person will use a combination of someone’s personal information to create a new identity. For example, they may take a social security number and date of birth from someone but combine that with a new name and address to make a new “person.”
These criminals are getting smarter, with many building up their credit using this fake information before using it to take out a considerable amount of funds and disappearing.
While this form of identity theft can impact anyone, certain groups are more vulnerable than others. These include the elderly, children, military service members, and those who are incarcerated. This is because they do not have the ability to check their credit report, allowing fraud to go undetected for a considerable amount of time.
How Can I Protect Myself?
If you are concerned about synthetic identity theft, you must understand what you can do to protect yourself.
The most important thing to do is monitor your credit regularly. Generally, you can get one free report from each of the three major credit bureaus once per year, allowing you to check your credit every four months. This allows you to stay alert to any accounts that may be opened using your information.
If you have children, you’ll want to freeze their account so nothing can be opened using their social security number.
Finally, you’ll want to avoid sharing personal details on your social media accounts, as thieves can piece together information like your full name, date of birth, and zip code, making you a target for synthetic identity theft.
What Should I Do if My Information Is Already Compromised?
If you find that your information is already compromised, you may begin to panic. However, it’s essential to remain as calm and level-headed as possible. You’ll want to contact the three credit bureaus to place a freeze on your account, preventing any additional accounts from opening in your name. You’ll also want to report the fraud to all your financial institutions, as well as the Federal Trade Commission.
The most important thing to do is contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, some thieves cannot be located. However, if a data breach was the reason your identity was compromised, an attorney can help you hold the negligent company liable for the damages you’ve incurred as a result.
At Los Angeles Legal Solutions, our dedicated team knows that being a victim of identity theft can flip your world upside down. As such, we will do everything possible to hold someone responsible for their actions while helping you recover from this theft. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you through these challenging times.