Identity Theft Prevention: Types of Identity Theft and How to Stop It

In light of Identity Theft Awareness Week, we wanted to talk about identity theft prevention. Identity theft is something that can happen to any of us. With the rise of the digital age, financial scammers have greater access to our private information, making it easier for them to use it to their advantage. As sad as that is, we must take preventative measures against it to protect ourselves and those we love. In 2022, there were over 1.1 million cases of identity theft and fraud reported.1 The more we can spread awareness, the better we can all safeguard ourselves against it.

Types of Identity Theft and Financial Fraud

There are a lot of different types of identity theft (ID theft) and financial fraud, so today, we’re going to focus on the main culprits: 

Financial Identity Theft

Financial identity theft is one of the most familiar types of ID theft, and it’s also one of the most common. In this type of theft, someone steals your financial information, such as your bank account numbers, credit card details, or even your social security number. The thief can then use this information to make purchases, open new accounts, and even obtain lines of credit.

Medical Identity Theft

Medical identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to obtain medical care. If you receive a bill for care that you did not receive, it is a significant warning sign. You should immediately contact the medical provider and report the incident to the police department.

Account Takeover Fraud

This happens when someone steals your passwords and gets access to your online accounts without your knowledge. Whether that’s an email account, a social media account, or even a bank account, this type of fraud can be super dangerous—especially if you use the same password for multiple accounts. 

Synthetic Identity Theft

This is a newer type of identity theft that happens when someone steals your social security name, birth date, and other personal information to create a new identity under your social security number. By doing this, they can open new accounts, lines of credit, loans, and more. 

How to Report Identity Theft 

Identity theft can happen to anyone. If you think you’re a victim of any type of identity theft, you’ll want to report it as soon as possible. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Analyze your situation to find out how you were targeted.
  2. File a fraud alert or freeze with a National Credit Reporting Agency. 
  3. Close any accounts that were opened without your permission.
  4. Dispute any fraudulent transactions with your bank as soon as possible.
  5. Check your computer for viruses or malware.
  6. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Dealing with identity theft is not fun. It can take months and even years to sort through with agencies, banks, and law enforcement. That’s why it’s so important to take steps to protect yourself so it doesn’t happen to you. 

1. Set strong passwords and change them often.

Don’t use the same password across all of your accounts. Choose strong passwords for each digital account you own and make sure you update them often. 

2. Monitor your financial statements regularly.

The best way to know if there’s any fraudulent activity on your accounts is by monitoring them regularly. Look at your financial statements often and make sure each transaction looks familiar to you. If not, dispute it with your bank as soon as possible and get a new card.

3. Review your credit reports regularly.

Credit reporting agencies like Experian, TransUnion, Equifax, and others all provide you with one free report per year. Make sure you get those reports and review them for any discrepancies. 

4. Sign up for an identity theft monitoring service. 

There are tons of great ID theft monitoring services out there that can be your second set of eyes across all your accounts. Utilizing one of these services can help provide an extra layer of security and help you catch any fraudulent activity early on.

At SageSpring, we truly care about our clients. If you think you’ve been the victim of identity theft or financial fraud, we want to help. We will be there to support you every step of the way, offering guidance and assistance to give you peace of mind. Contact your SageSpring financial advisor today. 

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Jeffrey T. Dobyns


President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS 

Jeffrey T. Dobyns

President, SageSpring | Financial Advisor, RJFS

Beyond crunching numbers and investment strategies, at SageSpring, we’re about building relationships. When you encounter Founder & President of SageSpring, Jeff Dobyns, it’s easy to understand why this is at the very heart of who we are as a firm. You won’t find stuffy formalities with Jeff; instead, you can expect to find him sharing a warm smile, communicating a compelling vision, or patiently untangling life’s complex challenges with clients. He believes in truly getting to know clients, understanding their aspirations and priorities, and navigating their financial plans with a tailored, comprehensive approach. Our team members have often been caught taking notes on Jeff’s effortless relationship skills from a distance, and we admire them for striving to learn from one of the best. 

Jeff’s financial expertise and wisdom are the perfect match to his innate people skills. Jeff holds the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChLU®) designations, and has held executive positions with financial planning firms for more than two decades. 

His dedication extends beyond the office to the boardroom and the local community, where Jeff is passionate about giving back. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Men of Valor, a prison ministry and mentoring program. Jeff also serves on the board of Send Musicians to Prison, which shares hope, healing and restoration with the imprisoned through musicians & artists. Jeff actively supports other initiatives in the community by sitting on the board of The Signatry of Middle Tennessee and the Halftime Institute of Nashville. 

Witnessing his four children, Gracyn, Hunter, Tanner, and Logan, excel on the field is almost just as rewarding, if not more, than celebrating the victories of seeing his clients overcome obstacles and build wealth. Spending weekends boating on the lake, hiking mountain trails, and fishing with his family are the moments Jeff cherishes most. It’s this grounded perspective that reveals the true meaning of wealth for Jeff: not just numbers on a page, but the freedom to create experiences that enrich your life and the lives of those you love. When you choose the Dobyns McMillin Wealth Team, you choose more than financial expertise. You choose a partner who champions your dreams, celebrates your victories, and walks besides you on the path to achieving your unique goals.

**Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.