Ashley Rowan
Ashley Rowan
December 28th, 2023

What is Identity Theft And How To Protect Yourself From It

In today's digital age, the threat of identity theft looms large. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it for fraudulent purposes, often leading to financial loss and emotional distress. As technology advances, so do the methods that identity thieves employ. To safeguard yourself from this ever-present danger, it's crucial to understand what identity theft is and how to protect yourself from it.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a malicious act in which a person steals your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, credit card details, or other identifying data, with the intent of impersonating you for financial gain. These criminals can wreak havoc on your life by opening fraudulent accounts, making unauthorized purchases, or even committing crimes under your identity.

Types of Identity Theft

  1. Financial Identity Theft: This is the most common type, where thieves use your financial information to make purchases or obtain credit in your name.

  2. Criminal Identity Theft: Criminals use your identity when interacting with law enforcement, often leading to false arrests or other legal complications.

  3. Medical Identity Theft: Perpetrators steal your health insurance information to obtain medical services or prescription drugs, which can compromise your medical records and insurance coverage.

  4. Child Identity Theft: Children's identities are increasingly targeted because they are less likely to monitor their credit. Thieves use their information for various fraudulent purposes.

  5. Synthetic Identity Theft: Thieves create a new identity by combining real and fake information, making it harder to detect.

How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

  1. Secure Personal Information: Safeguard your Social Security number, driver's license, passport, and financial documents in a locked drawer or a safe. Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet.

  2. Use Strong Passwords: Create complex, unique passwords for each of your online accounts. Use a password manager to keep track of them.

  3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Turn on 2FA whenever possible to add an extra layer of security to your online accounts.

  4. Be Wary of Phishing Scams: Be cautious about clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. Phishing emails and texts can lead to identity theft if you're not careful.

  5. Check Your Credit Reports: Regularly review your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) for any suspicious activity.

  6. Freeze Your Credit: Consider placing a credit freeze on your accounts to prevent unauthorized access to your credit report.

  7. Monitor Your Financial Statements: Routinely review bank and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions.

  8. Shred Sensitive Documents: Shred documents containing personal information before discarding them.

  9. Protect Your Computer and Mobile Devices: Install and regularly update antivirus and anti-malware software. Be cautious when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.

  10. Don't Share Personal Information: Avoid sharing sensitive information over the phone or online unless you are certain of the recipient's identity.

  11. Be Cautious on Social Media: Limit the personal information you share on social media platforms, as identity thieves can use this information to their advantage.

  12. Use Secure Wi-Fi: Ensure your home Wi-Fi network is password-protected, and consider using a VPN for added security when browsing online.


Identity theft is a pervasive and ever-evolving threat, but by staying vigilant and taking proactive measures to protect your personal information, you can reduce your risk of falling victim to this crime. Regularly monitoring your financial accounts, securing your personal information, and educating yourself about the latest identity theft scams are essential steps in safeguarding your identity and financial well-being. Remember that prevention is the key to avoiding the devastating consequences of identity theft.