Personal finance

How Identity Theft Affects You

identity-theftThere are many variations on the crime of identity theft, but it all boils down to someone using your personal information to pretend they are you and charge items on your credit card, apply for loans and more. A thief may even commit a crime in your name, which gives you a criminal record. Thanks to federal law, you are not responsible for things the thief does, but it may take months or years to clear your name and restore your good credit history. You can get excellent protection from identity theft protection services found at sites like Top Ten Reviews.

Financial Problems

If a thief gets your bank account number, he or she can deplete it of all your hard-earned money. They can also open a credit card in your name and use it without you even knowing. Thieves can also withdraw from your retirement fund and other investments, which can put you in a difficult financial situation.

Credit Score

If your personal information has been stolen and is being used to run up debt, your credit score will go down through no fault of yours. Debts will be accumulated and are not paid. This could cause you to be refused a home mortgage, car loan, job offer or other financial benefits because your credit rating is damaged. It could take years to get it back to normal. Some of these difficulties can be avoided if you regularly monitor your credit report and report activity that is not yours. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the credit reporting agencies are required by law to block fraudulent information on anyone's credit report.

Medical Records

With your Social Security number a thief can get your medical records as well as your medical benefits. They can use your number to get a job in your name and receive medical benefits such as treatments that should go to you and your family. If this happens, when you need your medical benefits, you may find they are not available because they have already been used. This could prove life-threatening if you or your family member has a medical emergency.

Tax Records

An identity thief may file a forged tax return in your name to get a fraudulent refund. You may not realize it until you receive an unexpected notice from your state income tax board or the IRS. If this happens, you should send a photo ID along with the reason you think you are the victim of identity theft to the income tax department.

Home Address

To avoid the possibility of a thief redirecting mail through a change of address filed at the post office, many people only send and receive mail at the post office and not at home.

Worst Case Scenario

You could be falsely arrested because someone who was arrested gave your name at the time of booking and were then let free. When they don't show up for their scheduled court date, the police will order an arrest warrant in your name and put you in jail.

Identity theft can turn a normal life into a nightmare. For a very small amount, an identity theft protection service can cover all the mentioned possibilities to catch them right at the beginning and help you recover your credit score and good name.

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