Picture this: you’re going about your day, spending time with your family. It’s year two of COVID-19, and funds are tight. You are planning to get your 5-year-old a really fun birthday present (since he can’t have a party like he wanted), but when you go to pay, your card is declined. You log in to online banking, and your account is empty. Terror sets in.

What happened? You’ve likely been a victim of identity theft. What do you do now?

How do you know you’re a victim of identity theft?

There are a few key signs you can look out for. These include:

  • Unknown withdrawals from your bank account (that you know you did not make)
  • You aren’t receiving the mail you should be
  • You’re getting communications about accounts you did not open
  • A sudden drop in your credit score

If you experience any of these, you may be in trouble. So, how does this happen?

An innocent activity turns into a terrible day.

Last year,  while doing some last-minute shopping at the mall, someone picked up my debit card information using an RFID scanner. They were able to get into my account and empty it. Needless to say, it wasn’t my favorite holiday season, especially considered I did not have identity theft protection.

If it happens to you, you aren’t alone.

Recently, a co-worker was forced to take a few days off because her husband’s identity was stolen. He woke up one morning and was checking on their finances before going to work and noticed several thousand dollars missing from all of their accounts. It took quite a bit of time to get things back on track. They had to with the bank to fill out paperwork. Next, they waited for new cards to set up new payment methods with their subscription services. Their entire lives were thrown off balance.

Anyone can be a victim.

Following that incident, the Equifax data breach was in the news. If it can happen to a company that large, it can happen to anyone.

You may be one of those people claiming, “I’m safe because my bank monitors things for me.” That may be true for your bank accounts, but who is monitoring your driver’s license number? Your email addresses? Your passport number?

What is a service like that worth?

There are several companies out there that offer full identity theft protection, but how do you know which one is right for you and your family?

How do you protect yourself?

After doing some extensive research, we recommend ID Shield to offer identity theft protection for $9.99/month for a single person or $19.95/month for a family plan. This covers everything that needs to be monitored.

Best of all, it’s backed by Kroll. Kroll is the company that all the major insurance companies use to back their claims. Setup is a breeze, and they start monitoring everything as soon as you enter the information on the site.

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, you should also consider strong password management software such as Dashlane. If you’d like to learn more about it, check out our blog on the topic!

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