Has Your Identity Been Stolen?

January 24, 2024


A friend of mine recently had his PayPal account hacked. While we know user ids and passwords are not enough to prevent hackers, the security of your online accounts can be significantly enhanced by using additional verification methods such as third party verification, passkeys, and face id. 


If you are a victim of identity theft, most likely the cybercriminals will try to open a credit card account in your name. There are several important steps you can take to protect your credit. The three major credit agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, offer fraud alert, extended fraud alert and credit freezes in escalating levels of protection. Fraud alert is used to alert the agencies that they should take additional measures to verify your identity before extending credit. Fraud alert only lasts for one year unless you request extended alert which lasts for seven years. If you want to shut down any requests for additional credit, you can freeze your accounts, but if you want to open an additional credit card, for example, you would have to unfreeze your credit at each agency individually. Unfortunately, the agencies don't share information with each other. 


Cybercriminals tend to focus their energy on resetting passwords, modifying authentication processes and attacking identities rather than deactivating antivirus and firewall technologies and log-tampering efforts. But once your identity is stolen, be sure to report it on the FTC’s IdentityTheft.gov website and — if you’re a victim of cybercrime — to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Also, check out the Identity Theft Resource Center for tips for prevention and other security best practices.There are also services that let you monitor your credit and alert you to any suspicious activity. 

 

Finally, don't click on any emails or texts that look suspicious. Better to be safe than sorry.