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5 Ways Identity Theft Can Happen

Hannah Locklear | August 25, 2023

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Summary: What do phishing scams, data breaches, physical theft, fake card readers, and malware have in common? They can all lead to identity theft. If you’re being sued for a debt caused by identity theft, SoloSuit can help you defend yourself in court and win.

Identity theft, a crime that once felt far removed from most individuals, has become an increasingly common concern in the digital age. It can have devastating consequences, ranging from financial loss to significant personal distress. By understanding the most common avenues through which identity theft can occur, you stand a better chance of safeguarding your personal information.

Here are five ways thieves can steal your identity:

1. Phishing scams

  • What is a phishing scam? Cybercriminals use fake emails, texts, or websites to pose as trustworthy organizations. Their aim is to lure victims into providing sensitive information.
  • How to protect yourself from phishing scams: Be skeptical of unsolicited communications, especially if they request personal or financial information. Verify the authenticity of the sender by reaching out to the official entity directly via a trusted method, like their official website or phone number.

2. Data breaches

  • What is a data breach? Large databases, especially those of big corporations or governmental entities, are targeted to obtain massive amounts of personal data in a single swoop.
  • How to protect yourself from data breaches: Regularly change and strengthen your passwords. Utilize multi-factor authentication where possible. Stay informed about recent data breaches and check if your information was compromised.

3. Physical theft

  • What is it? This is the traditional method where thieves steal physical items, such as wallets, purses, or mail, to obtain personal details.
  • How to protect yourself from physical theft: Regularly empty your mailbox, shred important documents before discarding, and never leave personal items unattended in public spaces.

4. Skimming and fake card readers

  • What are skimming and fake card readers? Thieves install devices on ATMs or other card readers to capture the information from the magnetic strip of your credit or debit card.
  • How to protect yourself from fake card readers: Before inserting your card, tug on the card reader to ensure it's not a false front. Shield your PIN while entering it, and regularly monitor your account statements for any unauthorized transactions.

5. Malware and spyware

  • What is malware and spyware? Malicious software installed on your computer or mobile device without your knowledge, designed to track your activities and steal personal information.
  • How to protect yourself from malware and spyware: Install reputable anti-virus and anti-malware software. Regularly update your operating system and applications. Avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading files from unknown sources.

Respond to a debt lawsuit

Fraudulent debt lawsuits are not uncommon, unfortunately. Luckily, SoloSuit makes it easy to defend yourself in a debt lawsuit and beat unscrupulous debt collectors.

If you’ve been sued as a result of identity theft, it’s important to respond to the lawsuit as soon as you are notified. You should respond to the case with a written Answer. Be sure to file your Answer before your state’s deadline, which could be anywhere from 14-35 days.

In your Answer, respond to each claim against you. Then, add a section for your affirmative defenses. If the debt is a result of identity theft, you should consider denying all the claims and listing this information as one of your defenses.

Make the right defense the right way with SoloSuit.

To learn more about how to respond to a debt lawsuit, check out this video:

The bottom line

Vigilance is key to protecting your identity. While technological solutions offer some defense, your best protection is awareness. Always stay updated on the latest scams and methods identity thieves are using, and adjust your personal security measures accordingly. Your identity is one of your most valuable assets, and it's worth safeguarding with diligence.

What is SoloSuit?

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You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

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