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There’s a lot to know about identity theft, which also means there’s a lot of misinformation out there that can leave you vulnerable to this crime. We’ve compiled a shortlist of six common myths about identity theft to dispel some inaccuracies and help people become more empowered when it comes to protecting their identities.

Read on to learn more and consider reaching out to Insurance Specialists Inc. to learn more about identity theft and how an insurance policy can help you withstand the impact of something happening to you.

Myth 1: If My Identity Was Stolen, I’d Immediately Know

Unless your credit card company has a system in place to detect and notify you of possible fraud, you could go unaware of illegal activity for days or even weeks. Some credit card companies offer complimentary credit reports, which could mean you won’t know for a month or longer if a new account was opened with your information. In one of the worst-case scenarios, you don’t find out until you’re meeting with a bank’s loan officer who has bad news to bear about your credit rating.

Myth 2: My Personal Information Doesn’t Have Any Real Value

You might not think your address, phone number, email, or information that’s not your Social Security Number has much value. Because of online directories that scan the Internet for information about people, you may even discover that some of this information is already out there. So, how is it valuable?

On its own, your phone number for instance can be used in phishing scams. If a criminal is searching for burglary targets, it’s valuable to know where you live, your routine, and if you’ll be away for an extended period of time.

Lastly, if someone intends to steal your identity for another purpose, making any details about your life easy to find just makes it easier for someone to cause harm.

Myth 3: Identity Theft Is Only about Money

Stealing your identity is often about getting cash or credit, but it’s far from the only thing criminals are after. Medical identity theft is on the rise. This involves someone posing as you on hospital or doctors’ forms to receive medical treatment or prescription drugs in your name, often leaving you with an overwhelming amount of medical debt to deal with.

More cunning criminals will also plan on stealing someone’s identity to make it harder for law enforcement to track them. Other instances of identity theft without a direct financial incentive include employment fraud, where a stolen identity is used to help someone secure a job with benefits.

Myth 4: My Business Is Too Small for Hackers to Target

The news may give you the impression that cybercriminals are only hitting larger companies to mine for data. The truth is that your small business may be even more vulnerable – and ironically for the same reason you don’t think you’d be a good target.

Small business data breaches rarely make the news, which is why they may be more commonly targeted by hackers. These wrongdoers also know that most small business owners are either not as tech-savvy as larger companies or have the resources to dump on a robust cybersecurity regimen. You can take a step toward protecting your company from the fallout of a data breach by exploring cyber liability insurance policies.

Myth 5: People Are Most Vulnerable to Identity Theft Online

You might think that because people feel more secure about submitting their personal information into online forms that identity theft has become a primarily Internet-based crime. The reality is that times haven’t changed much, and people who are committed to breaking the law will use old and new tricks alike to do it.

For this reason, you should never leave sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers, banking information, passwords, and the like out in the open or in places where someone would expect to find them. You should also invest in a paper shredder to eliminate documents that contain sensitive information.

Always be aware that some time-tested tricks are still in use and some have been updated with the times. If you lose your wallet, immediately contact your credit card companies and banks to freeze your assets. If you suspect a credit card skimmer was installed at a gas station, inform the attendant and call your credit card company immediately. Also consider investing in exterior cameras to keep an eye out for the possibility of someone digging through your garbage for discarded documents.

Myth 6: There’s Nothing I Can Do to Protect Myself against Identity Theft

When it comes to identity theft, people may feel vulnerable because they don’t know how to protect themselves against it. Don’t mistake not knowing how to safeguard your identity for there is no way to do so.

Never share personal information or plans online, don’t store this information in a place that’s easy to access, make it a habit to check your credit report as often as possible, and consider purchasing identity theft insurance to protect you for a time when the worst happens.

If you want to talk to someone who can help set you up with a policy to protect you for the future, contact Insurance Specialists Inc. online or by calling (888) 451-0883.