A lot of people think identity theft won’t happen to them. But it's a real threat that’s gotten worse in recent years, and one you—and your business—can’t afford to ignore.
Table of Contents
- What Is Identity Theft?
- Don’t Ignore the Threat of Identity Theft
- What To Do Right Away If Your Identity Is Stolen
- Be Proactive—Stop Identity Theft Before It Happens
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means we make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking the link.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is when someone uses your personal or financial information to pose as you so they can make purchases, open financial accounts, and commit other kinds of fraud that benefit them.
Identity theft can take numerous forms—over thirty —that can make your life a misery.
Bad actors can open loans and credit cards in your name, file taxes and receive refunds, or obtain medical services in your name, just to name a few.
And it’s a growing problem.
In 2020, 47 percent of US consumers experienced identity theft; 37 percent experienced application fraud (the unauthorized use of one’s identity to apply for an account), and 38 percent experienced account takeover (unauthorized access to an existing account).
Losses from identity theft cases cost $502.5 billion in 2019 and increased 42 percent to $712.4 billion in 2020!
This massive increase was due to changes in the way people banked during the pandemic (online, at home), as well as an increase in remote lending by banking institutions.
Don’t Ignore the Threat of Identity Theft
To be honest, we haven’t talked much about identity theft before here at SPI. And you might be thinking, what does identity theft have to do with starting and growing a business?
A lot, in fact.
You see, if caught early, identity theft can be manageable. But if not, resolving it can take years to stop the fraud, undo the damage, and restore your identity and credit.
This can obviously be incredibly damaging if you’re trying to grow a business. The time, energy, and money going toward addressing identity theft is not being spent on building your business.
The bottom line: this is not a threat that you—or your business—can ignore.
What To Do Right Away If Your Identity Is Stolen
What should you do as soon as you find you’ve been the victim of identity theft? There are several steps you should take right away.
Step 1: Contact the Companies Involved
Call the companies where you know fraud has occurred. Explain that someone stole your identity, and ask them to close or freeze your accounts. Then, change the logins, passwords, and PINs for your accounts.
Step 2: Contact the Credit Bureaus
Place a free fraud alert with one of the three credit bureaus, and get your credit reports.
You can contact any of the three bureaus; that company must tell the other two:
- Experian: Experian.com/help or 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
- TransUnion: TransUnion.com/credit-help or 888-909-8872
- Equifax: Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services or 800-685-1111
You should also get a copy of your free credit reports from each of the three bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
Review your reports, and make note of any account or transaction you don’t recognize. This will help you report the theft to the FTC and the police.
Step 3: Report Identity Theft to the FTC
Next, file a police report with your local police department. You should also report your identity theft at IdentityTheft.gov, a one-stop resource the federal government created for identity theft victims. Enter as much information as you can, and the site will help you create a recovery plan.
Be Proactive—Stop Identity Theft Before It Happens
It’s crucial to know what to do in the immediate aftermath of identity theft. But there’s more you can do proactively to make sure it doesn’t sabotage your life or cripple your business.
That’s where an identity theft protection service comes in.
Aura: The All-in-One Digital Protection Solution We Recommend
We like Aura, a tool that provides all-in-one digital protection for consumers. Aura offers identity theft and fraud protection for your finances, personal info, and family, including:
- Identity Theft Protection. Aura lets you know if your online accounts, passwords, Social Security Number, and bank accounts are at risk, and assigns a dedicated identity theft and fraud specialist to assist you.
- Financial Fraud Protection. Aura sends rapid alerts if it detects changes to your credit or bank accounts.
- Device & Network Protection. Stream, shop, and bank online privately and securely with military-grade encryption and powerful antivirus protection.
- Family Protection. Keep your spouse, kids, and parents safe from identity theft, fraud, scams, and online threats.
Aura offers three plans:
- Individual: includes an antivirus, VPN, password manager, identity theft insurance, ID monitoring, and financial fraud monitoring for one adult using up to ten devices
- Couple: includes everything in the Individual plan, plus additional insurance coverage and device limits for two adults
- Family/Group: includes everything in the Individual plan, plus additional insurance coverage and device limits for up to ten adults
Aura was also designed to be easy to understand and simple to set up. And we appreciate that it includes 24/7/365 customer support.
You can get your first 14 days free on any Aura plan with our affiliate link. Check out this infographic showing what you’ll get with each of Aura’s three tiers of service:
Go to https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/aura to get your first two weeks free with any Aura plan—and sleep a little better at night.