One of the most tragic reasons people file Las Vegas bankruptcy is due to identity theft, which is when a someone takes or uses personal your financial information and impersonates you fraudulently. Identity theft is, thankfully, also one of the most preventable reasons people file bankruptcy. One thing you can do to protect yourself personally is to limit the items you carry with you. Here are five examples.
- Your Social Security card: Like the American Express card commercials from the 1980s with the catch-phrase “Don’t leave home without it,” your Social Security card couldn’t be more different. Please, leave home without your Social Security card. Because your photo ID is probably in your personal belongings, if a thief gets a hold of them, identity fraud is easy as pie.
- Unlocked smartphones: Smartphones are delightful devices. It’s truly astonishing what we can do now that we couldn’t 25 years ago. However, because the devices are such convenient hand-held computers, it’s tempting to place enormously important private information on them, including applications that access your bank accounts. Worse, with syncing software, your phone might download information that you don’t intend to be on it. A sophisticated thief might be able to hack your phone’s memory and extract this information. Don’t let them; ensure that your phone is password-protected.
- Unneeded cash: It should go without saying that a common occurrence in many people’s lives is leaving a wallet somewhere and having it returned with the cash gone. Don’t set yourself up for this type of situation.
- Gift cards and gift certificates: Similarly, gift cards and the like do not require photo identification to be presented at stores for use. It’s better to leave these at home unless you’re going on a specific shopping trip.
- Unneeded credit cards: (Seeing a pattern here?) Rather than belabor the point, an alternative is to open a specific credit line for major household expenditures, like your phone bill or power bill, as well as for online purchases. This credit card stays at home, and if you want, you can even store the information in an encrypted file on your computer and then cut the card up. This way, if a thief maxes your personal card, your regular bills won’t be affected.
Identity theft is nasty and deeply infuriating. It’s best to take steps to prevent this all-too-common reason people file bankruptcy. If you are the victim of identity theft, then a consultation with a Las Vegas bankruptcy lawyer might help you resolve your financial difficulties.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation. Call us at 1-702-880-5554 to set up your free consultation.