Identity Theft Protection for Self-Employed

ElitePersonalFinance
Last Update: February 13, 2021 Identity Theft

Are you Self-Employed? Here are the reasons why your identity might be at significant risk!

If you are self-employed, you have to know that getting work largely depends on how well you market yourself. In most cases, this means that you have to post your vital personal information such as full name, email address, geographic location, phone number, and many more on several websites and even social media platforms.

Establishing your own online brand, maybe as a freelancer or other relevant self-employed professional, is the best way to make your business grow. What you need to bear in mind is that putting yourself out there only invites potential clients also problems. You can post on public websites and the most important banking and tax information.

Well, definitely, it’s not only self-employed workers who are exposed to the risk of identity theft. There is no doubt that today we have several people struggling to properly balance the need to share online information and protect their vital data. As a self-employed, you provide your identity to cybercriminals. They can damage not only your personal credit but also your finances.

Examples of Identity Theft

In most cases, the thieves open new accounts using your name but a different billing address so that you never receive the billings for the newly opened accounts. After which, they accumulate the charges and end up not settling the bills. Many have fallen victim to this, and if you don’t monitor your accounts frequently, you will never realize until it’s too late to save the situation.

So What Types of New Accounts Do They Mostly Open?

  • Credit card accounts. These accounts are famous for fraud.
  • Phone and utilities accounts are also frauds for hackers. Someone can easily lease an apartment, get a new mobile phone, open new utility accounts without your consent, and live their dream using your money.
  • Bank accounts that have new forged checks duplicated bank cards and even loans.
  • Fake government ID’s as well as your driver’s license with your photo replaced with theirs. Sometimes they can go to the extent of using your social security number (SSN) to apply for benefits or fill falsified tax returns. With both your driver’s license and social security cards, they can commit crimes and get you arrested.

Guidelines for Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Many financial institutions have strived to educate members of the public on various ways of how they can protect themselves from identity theft. However, they have always missed highlighting the most sensitive tips that most hackers assume people don’t know.

  • Map and properly manage your digital footprint

Always know the current status of your digital footprint even before reducing it. You can use your name and several other personal details to do a few searches on numerous search engines to know where you are listed. After having a rough idea of your digital footprint’s size, then you can embark on getting it cleaned up by removing inactive profiles and suspicious photos.

It is wise to critically think before posting anything online and be very careful on how you relate with others, be equally choosy when it comes to the venues you engage yourself in. If you frequently share your opinion, then consider how different people may interpret your message. Additionally, be thoughtful about revealing your place of work, as this can be used against you.

  • Take extra safety measures with sensitive data

Generally, Freelancers are required to give their banking information to get paid. However, it is highly recommended that you limit the number of documents containing sensitive information, ensuring every document containing it is secure.

Additionally, emailed invoices or forms having sensitive information should always be coded. Any PC you choose to use for financial dealings must have the latest operating systems and security features.

  • Check privacy settings and policies

When creating online profiles, i.e., opening social media accounts, you definitely depend on third party systems to safeguard your personal information. It is vital to ensure that you are aware of the website’s privacy policies.

You can further configure privacy settings to permit the people you trust to access your profile and the info you post. Also, review the site’s privacy policy as some sites might share data, for example, email addresses. If you feel that a site’s privacy policy is unclear, then don’t use the site.

  • Regularly monitor your accounts and report any suspicious activity

The primary indication of identity theft is abnormal charges reflected on your bank statement or credit reports. Frequently checking your financial accounts and your credit reports are the top defense act when spotting fraud. However, a minor sign of identity theft is when an agency collecting debt contacts you regarding an account you know nothing about, meaning that someone opened a false account using your details.

Always contact the card issuer and the credit reporting agency any time you notice suspicious activity. Regularly monitor your credit statements and remain watchful.

How to Report Identity Theft?

  • Get in touch with the police department

If you are positive that you have a record of all your personal activities, you will have no problems proving to the police that the new activities result from a fraud committed.

  • Communicate with creditors who issued the newly opened accounts to the crook

Send them a copy of the report you got from the police, including all the info proving that it is a fraud, and stay in touch if new activities pop up.

  • Lastly, close all of your current accounts and create new

Also, don’t forget to modify your online passwords.

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