5 Real ID Theft Facts You Should Know

5 Real ID Theft Facts You Should Know

Did you hear the scary news about the data breach at Equifax? The personal information of 143 million people in the US, UK and Canada was stolen by hackers. Identity theft and fraud are real. How much do you know about this serious threat? And more importantly, how to keep yourself and family safe?

Q: How many people are victims of identify theft each year?

A: Millions. In 2016, more than 15 million Americans had their identities stolen. That was an alarming 16% increase from the year before.

Q: True or False: Identity theft only happens to people 18 years or older.

A: False! Children are not likely to be monitoring their credit, and parents aren't likely to be doing so on their behalf. This can be very dangerous because any problems could go years without being noticed.

Q: Why is it smart to use a different password on different websites?

A: Having multiple passwords can keep you safe in the event that one of the websites you use gets hacked. That means if your email service gets hacked (like what happened to Yahoo last year), as long as you use a different password for your online banking then the hackers would not be able to access your bank login.

Q: What is medical ID theft?

A: When someone steals your personal information for the purpose of obtaining medical care, purchasing drugs, or using your info to submit fake insurance claims. This type of fraud can be very disruptive to your life by damaging your credit rating and being very difficult to resolve with insurance companies, medical providers, etc.

Q: True or False: Identity Theft only occurs online.

A: False. There are numerous types of ID theft, and it doesn't all happen a result of cyber activity. It is important to store your sensitive personal documents in a secure place in case of loss or burglary. Shredding credit card bills and bank statements is one way to protect yourself against dumpster diving - when criminals go through trash to search for personal info they can use to steal identities.