How to Avoid Identity Theft & Identity Fraud | ConTECHtual | NowThis

– Wait, stop, don’t ever do that. Scams like this are why
approximately 17 million adults in the US fall victim
to identity theft annually. And that number doesn’t
account for unreported cases or cases where children are
getting their identity stolen. Identity theft can impact your finances, emotional state and criminal record for years and even decades to come. Just imagine, if tomorrow you
couldn’t get an apartment, apply for a job or even
receive financial aid all because your identity was compromised and misused on the internet. In order to prevent this
from happening to you, I spoke to a mother whose child’s identify was stolen at seven years old, as well as a group of security experts to find out how can you
avoid identity theft. (upbeat music) There are many different
forms of identity theft. Financial, where thieves steal
your financial information to obtain loans, credit
cards and open bank accounts. Government, where your identity is used to access benefits like unemployment or social security. And medical, where your name
and insurance is exploited to get medical goods and
services such as wheelchairs, oxygen tanks and even prescriptions. Then we have two of the most perverse, criminal and child identity theft. Criminal identity theft happens when a criminal falsely
identifies themselves to police as another individual
at the point of arrest. And child identity theft is when a child’s social security is stolen
and used to commit fraud. And all of these words are becoming more and more common as tech advances. Your personally identifiable information, such as social security number, driver’s license number, financial accounts and phone numbers are out there somewhere, meaning they can be taken at any moment. – Identity theft puts a road
block in front of the victim. And they can be pursuing a
number of different things. Maybe they’re trying to purchase a home or refinance a home, get
their dream job, go to school, and all of a sudden they can’t
move forward in their life and pursue that goal
because identity theft has thrown that road
block up in front of them. – Now fraudsters reap all sorts of benefits from your information. Your credentials can be compromised by having your computer,
purse or wallet stolen. But they can also be
obtained during a scam calls or online data breaches, such
as that big Equifax data dump, especially if your social
media accounts are public. ‘Cause along with sharing memes you’re also giving out free
info like your birthday, hometown, and who you’re related to. And we all know someone who thinks my credit is bad anyway, they can have my identity, it’s no good. They’re wrong, thieves don’t care. – They can still go get payday loans. Now you may not go out
and get a payday loan and pay 22% interest, that doesn’t matter to the thief because they’re not paying it back. So your identity is just as valuable regardless of your true
financial status or picture. (mysterious music) – So basically fraudsters
don’t give a (beep) when it comes to stealing an identity, everyone is game, and I quite literally mean everyone. Even this person, and this one. Yep, children get targeted a lot. Jill Carlon can attest to that. Her daughter’s social security number was stolen in 2011, when she
was only seven years old. – Children’s numbers are
obviously the preference because there is not anything
established under them so it’s super easy to start with small accounts here and there, and slowly build the credit history that was never even
established in the first place. – In the past eight years, Jill has had to fight relentlessly to get her daughter’s identity back so she can apply for colleges
without having any issues. Identity theft leads to damaged credit, which can then lead to
being denied housing or being penalized with higher
interest rates on your loans. – We started getting collection calls for conferences that
were being not paid for by businesses being run
under my daughter’s number. I found bank accounts
that were open and active. I found nonprofit organizations
being run under her number. And so with all that we knew for sure now that the history was extensive. I was already told that I’ll
just need to keep her file and any time she applied for a loan or went for a job interview or whatever she would need
to carry her file with her and prove that she was not the other person for the rest of her life. – Jill said that the
social security office would not issue her daughter a new number unless she changed her name. – We went to court and had to legally change my daughter’s name, which sounded like a whole
lot of fun for 24 hours, till the realization
that this was forever. This was my new name. This is what I was gonna
be called in school. This is what all my paperwork’s gonna say. I am no longer who I was before. It was a hard process. And again it was another court date. It took three months to get a
court hearing to even do that. Took her in and she now has
a new first and middle name. – But it turned out that was not enough. The social security office also asked Jill to change
her daughter’s last name, completely stripping her away
from the family’s identity. Jill decided not to go
with a last name change, and it wasn’t until she
talked to local media that she was offered a new social security number for her daughter. Jill is still fighting to completely clear her daughter’s credit, and is now trying to
get the credit bureaus to understand their situation. Tracking how your identity was stolen is basically a wild goose chase. It’s not like someone had
a vendetta against you, your data was just collected in bulk and available on the dark net. I’m gonna let that sink
in for a little bit. (upbeat music) How can you prevent identity theft in a world where all your
information is online? The first step, and the
best preventative measure for adult and parents to take, is to limit the amount of personal information available online. That includes your name, date of birth, address, and social security number. – One of the things we
have to remember though as a victim of identity theft, you are guilty and you have
to prove yourself innocent, which is the opposite of
our judicial system now. And somebody at one point had
enough information about you that they’re, they had enough information
that said that was you. So you basically have to go back, cover your tracks, nope
I wasn’t in California to make that withdrawal. Or hey, look at my phone records, it proves that I couldn’t have been online or here in person opening
up the line of credit. And so there either has to be investigative work on your side or investigative work on
law enforcement’s side to clear a lot of people’s names. – But if your information
has already been compromised, call the companies where
you know the fraud occurred and alert them it wasn’t’ actually you. Then place a fraud alert
with the credit bureaus and file a report to the FTC by going to A fraud alert will notify
credit card companies that you might have been a
victim of identity theft. Think of it as a red flag for potential lenders and creditors. And if you have the money to do so, you might also want to
subscribe to services such as Life Lock, Identity Force, and ID Watchdog. These services monitor and
report any fraudulent activity so you can take action
as soon as possible. And if all else fails, you
can always freeze your credit. – There was new legislation
that was passed recently that makes freezing your
credit reports free to anyone. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what state you reside in, it’s free to everyone. So parents can do it for
their children as well. Now what that does is it stops any new accounts from being
opened on your credit. Look, it’s not a panacea, it doesn’t stop all
types of identity theft. But it does stop that new account opening type of identity theft. And it’s free. – Preventing identity theft
might seem out of reach, but there are clear steps you can take right now to protect it. Although i’s likely to get
worse as we move into a future where almost every transaction
we make is done online. But don’t let that discourage you. Please, go protect your identity. Hey y’all, thank you so much
for watching Contechtual. If you enjoyed watching this
as much as we did making it, then please make sure
to like and subscribe. And tune in next Thursday
to watch a new episode. Also, we would love to hear from you so if you have any topic idea or just wanna chat, make sure to comment in the
section below or message us. See you next time.

12 comments on “How to Avoid Identity Theft & Identity Fraud | ConTECHtual | NowThis”

  1. NowThis Future says:

    PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY: Please do not actually put your Social Security Number in the comments. Thank you for watching!

  2. G says:

    LifeLock is the best. I get texts, emailed, called when an account has been opened. They have all been mine, but good to know that they are looking out for my identity.
    Great video and suggestions.

  3. Rit_arted III says:


  4. 404 Error Not Found says:


  5. loogaan koolsen says:

    Great video very interesting and informative subscribed

  6. San-Ban Maxes says:


  7. San-Ban Maxes says:


  8. Bilakshan Purohit says:

    91720282 is not my security no.

  9. AR Animates says:

    Your welcome 👎👍

  10. MeoWffle CAT says:

    9834- oh wait

  11. Dark Soul says:

    😂😂😂 … who are you kidding? … the first ones who steal your identity are those who work at the companies where you submit your information …
    It's actually OUT OF REACH!! Trying to protect yourself just adds stress into your life… It's impossible

  12. TreeMobile. says:

    What do I do? I use prepaid cards that have no significant value of info for anyone.

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