Everyone needs to prevent identity theft. Identity theft can happen to anyone. Stealing someone’s identity can give a criminal access to bank accounts and savings, credit accounts, the ability to establish new lines of credit, and even receive medical care under another person’s name.
You can take steps to help prevent identity theft, identify if you have been a victim of identity theft, and steps to take if you are a victim of identity theft.
How To Prevent Identity Theft
There are several steps that you can take to prevent identity theft. You are encouraged to take as many precautions as possible. It is important to remember that you must be pro-active to prevent identity theft because it can happen in so many different ways.
There is not any single way to prevent identity theft 100 percent of the time, so it is important to take several steps to protect your information.
Invest in a Shredder
A major step in identity theft protection is investing in a home shredder. You want to make sure that you shred all documents that have your personal information on them. This includes bills and medical documents that you no longer need to save for your records. You should all offers that you receive in the mail, even if you have no intention of responding to the offer. Another way to protect your identity and credit line is to shred any catalogs mailed to you that have an account number or credit line already assigned to your name. Shred anything in these catalogs with that number or your personal information attached.
Freeze Your Credit
You can contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies and have a freeze placed on your credit. This will prevent anyone from establishing any new accounts under your name and social security number. It is free to use this service, and you can contact the bureaus at any time you need to establish credit for yourself and have the freeze taken off. You can then reestablish the freeze after you have opened your new line of credit.
Never Respond to Unsolicited Calls or Emails
One of the most important ways to prevent identity theft is to never fall for a “phishing” call or email. If you receive a call or email from any institution requesting personal or financial information, you should not respond directly to that contact. Go to the entity’s official website that is contacting you and make contact with them through the site. If the notice or request that you received were official, it would be attached to your account, and a customer service rep will be able to help you from there.
Clues to Understand that you are a Victim of Identity Theft
There are small clues that will let you know that you may be a victim of identity theft. Even with the best identity theft protection in place, you still may be a victim. Knowing what to look for can help you stop theft when it happens and prevent identity theft in the future.
Unusual Activity on your Credit Reports
You should always monitor your credit reports for unauthorized activity and errors. If you see new accounts being established, significant increases to your debt limit that you did not use, or changes to your personal information such as spelling your name or address on your credit reports, you may be a victim of identity theft.
Monitor Your Medical Bills
Identity theft protection is not just limited to monitoring your credit reports. You must also watch your health insurance bills and services. It is becoming more common for people to steal medical insurance information to get “free” medical care. Watch for bills coming in for services not performed or denial for claims for services you have not received. You should also monitor your yearly use amounts to ensure that they coincide with the treatments you receive.
Trouble Signing into Accounts
If you have found your sign-in or password changed on any of your accounts, it is critical to contact that institution to quickly protect your accounts.
Steps to Take if You are A Victim of Identity Theft
Even when you take every possible step to prevent identity theft, it can still happen. If this happens to you, you are encouraged to take the following steps:
Contact the Federal Trade Commission
The FTC has a page on their website dedicated to reporting identity theft and what you should do if you are a victim. Follow the guidelines on this page for the most help with identity theft.
To Prevent Identity Theft – File a Police Report
Identity theft is a crime, and you must file a police report documenting what has happened to you. This will give you proof that identity theft has occurred when working with creditors that may have been affected. This will also give the police information that identity theft is occurring in the area.
Contact the following Agencies
You will want to contact the following agencies to report the theft so that a freeze can be placed on your accounts:
Sadly, any steps you take at identity theft protection is not 100 percent guaranteed. Protecting your identity is an ongoing task that should never be overlooked. The only way to prevent identity theft from happening is to stay diligent and to take action when you suspect anything suspicious has occurred.
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Lawyer Tennen began her career as a Senior Law Clerk for one of the toughest District Attorney’s offices in the country where she gained remarkable experience in juvenile crimes, elder abuse, parole hearings, child abuse, sex and other serious crimes. Her experience at the District Attorney’s Office armed her knowledge and case strategy in exploiting the other side’s weaknesses for the client’s advantage and building a rock solid defense. Criminal attorney Tennen’s experience on both sides and brilliant maneuvering throughout is evidenced in her winning track record. In fact, even before earning her law degree, she was instrumental in getting excellent results on several criminal cases outshining her peers.
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I hired Gina and her team for my son who was facing 10 years for something they said he did when he was 17 years old. Gina was like a lioness protecting her cub. She did not stop. She fought hard and was able to defend the charges. We are so grateful to her and her team. They gave us our son. He recovered his life!– L. W.
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I hired this law firm in 2014 for my son who was facing 16 years in prison for a felony robbery. Lina Helou answered all our questions. I was extremely distraught regarding what my son was facing but Lina comforted me and told me that it would be okay. And thank goodness LibertyBell saved my son from going to jail and they were able to obtain only 3 years of probation. I could not have hired a better law firm for my son and if you want the best defense call LibertyBell Law Group. Thank God for this great group of lawyers.– V. J.
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My father had found this group through his company and coworkers. I was assigned Gina Tennen and I cannot explain in just a review on how gratefull I am to be working with her. My case was an accusation of unlawful sex. This had looked extremely bad on my part since I was in a fraternity and she was in a sorority. During these times with Greek life, there are too many bad stigmas surrounding these organizations. Gina had believed in me and knew that I was innocent and that these accusations just were not true. She took her time to review all of my evidence and proved my innocence. I totally recommend this law group because they are willing to put in the work to help your situation.– C. D.
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When I first heard I was under a criminal investigation, I initially thought I would try and resolve this in the best way possible, without legal representation, as we were all interested in a "just" outcome. I quickly discovered that was not the case and contacted Gina at Liberty Bell. She clearly described the expectations and the choices available to me. She was always available to me, and when I called, if she couldn't talk with me at that time, she would quickly get back to me. Gina always kept me fully aware of how the case was proceeding. Her fee's were stipulated up front, as well as what those fees covered and what they did not.– S. B.
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Attorney Gina Tennen was on point from day one putting pressure on the sherrif's office to get things handled. With Child molestation accusatinos being thrown around Gina and Attorney Castro were great at keeping the pressure on and had no charges filled. The DCFS indications were appealed and we won with flying colors. Great service, great work, and will use again for all legal matters.– A. B.
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Being involved in legal matters can be scary. When researching who to put my trust in, I came across Liberty and I am glad that I did. From the first time that I met with Gina and her team she made me feel comfortable and listened to all that I had to say. She assured me that her team would be on it and that they would do everything that they could! A little while in, Alan took over my case. When meeting with him you can tell that this is his passion and I immediately knew he was going to do everything in his power to make the outcome right! He was relentless and worked day and night working on the case. He kept in constant communication with me and truly cared not only about me but about my family as well. I am forever grateful for the support that this whole team has given me and would definitely recommend them to anyone who is looking for truly the best lawyers!– L. B.