Why a Credit Freeze Isn’t Enough to Stop Identity Theft
The pandemic has changed people’s lives in many ways, and identity theft is definitely one of them. During the pandemic, new types of identity theft have proliferated with new ways for scammers to communicate with victims and steal their identities.
Many consumers know that when identity theft happens, one of the first steps you should take is to place a credit freeze on your accounts in order to keep thieves from accessing and misusing them. This is most definitely an important step for protecting your identity. However, many consumers believe that this is the only step they need to take to protect themselves from fraud, and this is far from the truth. There are other steps you can take, and this is important since a credit freeze won’t stop your Social Security Number from being stolen or your driver’s license information, as well as many other things.
One way an identity thief can scam you out of money is through filing a tax return in your name and claiming your refund, which a credit freeze will not be able to stop. The IRS has focused on trying to stop this common scam, and in the last few years, they have had some success. The best way to stop this is by opting in to receive an Identity Protection PIN, without which no one will be able to file regardless of what other information they obtain.
P2P Payment Services
Another issue consumers may face is with P2P payment services. These payment services will not be protected by a credit freeze and lack a number of the protections that most traditional payment services provide. The best way to protect yourself with these services is to sign up for account notifications to alert you if any money is transferred.
Driver’s License Numbers
If an identity thief gets a hold of your driver’s license number, a credit freeze certainly won’t be much help. With this information, the scammer can create fake IDs that they can use if they ever get pulled over for traffic violations. This means that their violations may end up on your traffic record. You may never notice this until those unpaid fines result in notices of far greater trouble.
The best way to deal with a stolen driver’s license number is to perform a self-background check. A thorough background check can uncover any serious traffic or even other criminal violations performed in your name. Performed at the first signs of identity theft, this can allow you to quickly take action to correct it.