Is Identity Theft More Likely for Expats?
Summary: Expats face a challenge of change in a new country while unwillingly opening themselves to being victims of identity theft. It’s easy to be a victim and continues to be a good idea to keep on top of your sensitive information even while learning new cultures and laws of your new foreign home. By paying attention to even the slightest detail when accessing your personal information, you can lessen your chances of falling victim to identity theft.
Why are Expacts Victims of Identity Theft?
For expats, being an identity theft victim could be easier than imagined. Something as simple as buying toiletries online with an unfamiliar retailer, can mean the difference between being a victim or not.
Your information is now used electronically more often than when you were in your home country and therefore requires more steps to keep you well protected.
So as an expat, how can you avoid being a victim of identity theft?
Read on to find out how, along with tips and advice on what to do if you are a victim.
How Can Expats Avoid Becoming Victims of Identity Theft?
Protecting Offline Documents – It’s natural to think that identity theft happens only on the internet. As an expat, however, it’s important to remember to properly discard your personal files like bank statements or medical documents from your home or office. Shredding is a great way to keep your information well discarded and away from getting into the wrong hands.
Be smart with E-filing – Filing taxes while overseas can be tricky. E-filing online and electronically sending information to your tax preparer is an easy way for hackers and identity thieves to gain your information. Protect yourself and be sure to use a strong password. Once you’ve filed, remove your personal documents from your hard drive to a CD or flash drive where you can then secure it further.
IRS impersonators are always on the rise so be sure not to give your information to anyone you’re suspicious of. The IRS doesn’t ask for information on social media or via email so if you feel like something is off, chances are you’re right.
Analyze your credit report regularly – There are many services that offer free access to your credit report. Take advantage of those and keep track on your credit activity. Staying regularly updated with your credit activity is an effective way to prevent suspicious activity.
Be Smart about Storing Information- Storing cards and money in the same place can be convenient when you need to get up and going day to day. It can also be harmful because if your hiding place becomes compromised, your identity is at high risk to being the same. Separate where you store your sensitive information to lessen your chances of being a victim.
Protect your Online Presence – There is a rising number in cases of security breaches and privacy hacks. So keeping your online presence protected and safe requires a few extra steps to be completely secure. Some of the ways to do so could be getting end to end encryption for email security. Requiring two-factor authentication for financial and social media accounts. Subscribing to an identity theft service provider to keep you aware of your personal information.
What Can You Do if You Are the Victim of Identity Theft?
If you find you are an identity theft victim, there are plenty of steps you can take. First and foremost, contact your financial institutions to inform them of your identity crisis and file a report with your local police. Place a freeze on your credit and accounts to prevent fraudsters from opening further accounts and if you are opening a new account, change your password constantly.
Stay on top of your sensitive information moving forward and be sure to have an extra layer of protection to save you the trouble for next time.