Identity theft is an invisible threat that many people don’t realize they are a victim of until it’s too late. As identity theft can impact auto loan applications in Woodstock, we thought it would be a good idea to highlight the risks and the steps you can take to protect yourself.
Lenders are well aware of the risks and costs of identity theft and will work with you to remedy any losses. However, prevention is always better than cure, which is what this post is all about.
Our Woodstock car loan team has this information to offer.
How does identity theft happen?
Identity theft happens in a couple of ways, digital and physical. Here are some common ways it can happen.
Phishing involves fake emails pretending to be from the bank or credit card company. They will often include links and urgent messages such as ‘act fast your account password has been lost’ or ‘there is unauthorized activity on your account and we need to verify your identity’.
The easiest way to avoid this is to never click links in emails even if they look legit. If you think the email could be real, call the bank or company using their published customer service number. If it’s real, they will verify it.
Hacking and Malware
Device hacking and malware are not as common as the media would have you believe but they are a threat. Devices using open WiFi can fall prey to man in the middle attacks and malware can be installed on any device to log keystrokes, collect personal data and report it back.
You can avoid all this by using a software firewall on every device, using antivirus and a malware scanner and running weekly scans. If you use public WiFi in coffee shops and airports, always use a VPN to encrypt your traffic.
This type of dumpster diving collects your old bank statements, official documents and any other identifiable information you throw in the trash. They can be used along with other forms of fake or stolen ID to apply for credit cards, loans, set up bank accounts, secure phone contracts and even car rentals.
To avoid this, shred or burn all identifiable documents. That way, there is nothing for the thief to use against you.
Physical theft can include purse snatching, home invasion or ATM skimming. Each is serious and can have far-reaching consequences other than identity theft. ATM skimming is common in cities and can steal your card details and your PIN number at the same time.
To avoid this, be aware of where you are all the time and protect yourself and your property. To avoid ATM skimming, check any ATM you use for small cameras pointing at the keyboard and anything that looks out of place over the card slot. Keep an eye out for people loitering who look out of place too.
There’s no need to be afraid of identity theft, just be aware of it. Follow these tips for avoiding the risks and you should never fall prey to this lowest of crimes!
For those of you who know that you have a challenging credit situation, please visit Dixie Auto Loans where we have a team of credit specialists ready to help you get approved for a car loan today!