Identity theft is becoming much more common. With the internet controlling the vast majority of our lives, it is easy for unscrupulous people to steal someone’s credit card number and rack up a bunch of charges. While that is one form of identity theft, there are actually a number of other ways that people can have their identity stolen. So who is the most at risk? Your accountant in Billings, Montana will tell you the answer to that.
Versions of Identity Theft
Before we address who is the most at risk of having their identity stolen, we should look at what the different versions of identity entail. They range from the simple that don’t really harm you (other than your reputation perhaps) to the more complex that can have lasting effects.
Impersonation Identity Theft– Believe it or not, using a fake name on your social media account is a form of identity theft. Now if you come up with the name Johnny McAwesomesauce, nobody is going to care. But if you use the name John Smith, and then use pictures of someone with that same name, you are committing identity theft.
Driver’s License Identity Theft – Here is one that takes a little more cunning. It’s not exactly a crime of opportunity, but something planned out well in advance. Suppose you lose your driver’s license and someone finds it. They can sell it to someone that looks enough like you to pass as you. Now if that person is pulled over, arrested, or otherwise gets in trouble, they just give the officer your name and you now have a criminal record.
Social Security Identity Theft – Too often people are careless with their Social Security Number. Once a criminal has that, they can do a lot of damage to your identity. With a Social Security Number, and just a little more information, they can take out a loan in your name, get a passport, apply for credit cards, and a lot of other things that can have long term effects.
Medical Identity Theft – Medical identity theft is the fastest growing form of identity theft, even with the Affordable Care Act in place. The criminal steals your identity, and makes claims against your medical insurance. You end up with the bill; they end up with the treatment. To make matters worse, your medical record is now all screwed up.
Juvenile Identity Theft – For the parents out there, when was the last time you checked your child’s credit score? Likely never because what child has a credit score? Those who have had their identity stolen do. If your child’s identity is stolen, the thief can apply for loans, create documents, and commit a lot of other crimes and most people won’t even catch on until their child turns 18.
So Who is at the Most Risk for Identity Theft?
Now that we have covered the basics, who is at the most risk? The answer is everyone. No matter if you live your life completely offline, you are still at risk of having your identity stolen. No matter how careful you are, you can have your identity stolen.
Do you have a social media account? Then you are likely putting yourself at risk of impersonation identity theft. If you have a driver’s license, you are at risk of driver’s license identity theft. You have a Social Security Number (if you live in the states) so you are at risk of having that stolen, and everyone has been to a hospital at some point in time. As we see above, even children aren’t safe.
But there is good news. Legal Shield will protect you from those who are looking to steal your identity. You may think you’re covered because your credit card has fraud protection, but that only makes it so you’re not liable for the monetary side of things. It doesn’t actually protect your identity.
Your accountant in Billings, Montana also represents Legal Shield. For a low monthly rate you can have 24/7 access to an attorney, and make sure your identity is protected. Call us today at 406-894-2050 to learn more.
Practical Taxes is a full service accounting firm in Billings, Montana. Right now we are in the heart of tax season so things are pretty crazy around here! But we can still handle all of your accounting needs from payroll services, to tax preparation, to Legal Shield inquiries.