Getting Smart with Money: The ID Theft Issue

Here are three articles I found this week that you might find useful, especially as tax season kicks off (and flu season hopefully ends).
 
1.  Five Things You Need to Know About Identify Theft and Tax Returns
Identity theft is a real and serious problem, but there’s also a lot of misinformation and mythology surrounding the topic.  Forbes tax author, Kelly Phillips Erb, lays out five straightforward facts surrounding this topic including some of the best advice out there: take sensible steps, not rash reactions, to protect yourself from tax-related ID theft.
 
2.  No, You Don't Have to Give Your Doctor Your Social Security Number
This winter has been particularly brutal for sickness, with the flu and other nasty bugs making the rounds (sometimes multiple times). This has forced many of us to the doctor’s office, a visit that would be incomplete without its requisite paperwork, insurance cards, and multiple forms of identification. If you’ve ever wondered if refusing to provide your Social Security number on medical intake forms will result in being denied treatment, you’re in luck: patients are not legally required to provide this information (except for Medicare or Medicaid recipients), and most consumer protection groups (and the American Medical Association itself) don’t recommend providing this information at all.
 
3.  Best Identify Theft Protection Services of 2018
There are a lot of ID theft services on the market, ranging from gimmick products not worth the money to full-scale services that protect, monitor, and restore your identity in case of a data breach or identity theft. This article reviews and recommends the top three services for 2018, making the decision to purchase this service simple. Our family has had a subscription to ID Watchdog through my husband’s employer for the past two years, and while we’ve never had to take them up on their identity restoration services, I’m happy to have this software silently working in the background making sure nobody uses or abuses our personal information.
 
Identity theft is no joke, and if you’ve had yours stolen, you know how damaging and draining it can be. However, like so many “bad things,” hype and misinformation can lead to fear-based decision making and unwarranted panic instead of measured, rational thinking and action.