Are Your Finances Protected From Identity Theft?

Are Your Finances Protected From Identity Theft?

( – Americans fall victim to identity theft in increasing numbers, particularly with the rise of the information age and the internet. Millions of people unwittingly hand over sensitive information every day without giving it a second thought — that is, until problems arise with their taxes, credit ratings, and worse. So, how do you protect yourself?

Protecting yourself from identity theft starts with learning about the potential dangers to avoid in the first place. Fortunately, identity theft is a fairly straightforward crime with identity thieves, typically using three methods to obtain information.

  1. Catfishing: A relatively new term, catfishing refers to fake social media profiles designed to lure you into a romantic relationship. Over time, the catfish asks personal questions like your age and birthplace to facilitate stealing your identity.
  2. Phishing: Sometimes called spoofing, phishing efforts usually arrive in the form of unsolicited emails. Some are quite sophisticated, mirroring real emails from banking institutions and credit card companies. The phish often asks you to click on a link to confirm your identity or face suspension of your account in x-number of hours or days. The link may install malware on your devices which allow theft of your information.
  3. Social media posts: Posts frequently circulate on social media sites like Facebook, asking for personal information including your date of birth and birthplace. Some are a bit sneakier, asking the make of your first car, your mother’s maiden name, or other potential answers to security questions used for financial accounts.

So, what do you do to protect yourself?

Protecting Your Finances From Identity Theft

Learning how to protect our finances isn’t as complicated as you might think. It begins with some simple rules to follow.

First, never give out sensitive financial information over the phone unless you placed the call or know and trust the person, business, or financial institution. Likewise, don’t click on any links received via email. If questions arise regarding your identity or sensitive financial information, call the entity asking questions directly, or go to their website.

Second, never give out sensitive information like your birth date, place of birth, or year of graduation on social media sites. Even if you know the person placing a question/answer post, you don’t know who else might be lurking and have access to your responses.

Third, be leery of any unsolicited attempts at establishing a romantic relationship online. If you have any concerns regarding catfishing, there are sites you can use to confirm an individual’s identity.

For example, Social Catfish can conduct searches of a person’s profile pic and name, phone number, and email address. Similarly, PimEyes conducts facial recognition searches on photographs using artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies.

Caution in regards to sensitive personal information is the key to protecting your finances. Be aware, however, it’s next to impossible to shield yourself completely from the risk of identity theft.

If you are in doubt about a situation, or if you think you may have fallen victim to identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission has a web page providing useful information at

Copyright 2020,