- File your tax returns early
- Be aware of IRS imposters
- Destroy or securely store your tax information
- Know your accountant
Medical Identity Theft
According to the Identity Theft Research Center, the medical care sector had one of the highest numbers of data breaches in 2019. Medical identity theft occurs when someone poses as another person to receive medical treatment. The victim then ends up with medical bills that aren’t theirs, credit score dings, and trouble to qualify for health or life insurance. Here are some ways to protect yourself against medical identity theft:
- Review medical claims often
- Contact your insurance provider if anything seems amiss
- File a complaint to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Internet of Things Identity Theft
In today’s world, there’s a smart appliance for almost any device in your life from home helping devices like ‘Alexa’ to integrated home security systems and cars. This makes any smart device that’s connected to the internet hackable, and in turn, your information is more vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves. Internet of things identity theft happens when hackers identify a flaw in your smart device and gain access to your personal information.
With so much of our information already out there on social media, it makes it even easier and more accessible for identity theft. Here are some tips to make you and your personal data more secure on the internet:
- Check financial statements regularly
- Change passwords to accounts and devices
- Try to use different passwords for different accounts
- Secure your home internet with a password
- Be wary of online fraudulent activity
- Make social media accounts private
What to do If You’ve Been Victimized
There are many different types of identity theft, but the most important thing to do if you suspect you are a victim of identity theft is to act quickly to minimize the damage and maximize the chance to find the thief or return what was stolen. You should start by filing a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and they will give you an identity theft affidavit to take to your local police department.
If you’re a victim of medical theft, report it to your health insurance, and victims of tax or employment theft should also report to the federal and state tax authorities. Then, if you need to straighten out official records contact your state’s consumer protection office or attorney general. Identifying identity thieves is extremely difficult so make sure you take preventative measures and act quickly if you are unsure.
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