Victoria Cottle

Victoria Cottle

Identity Theft – Can It Be Prevented?

If you have ever been a victim of identity theft, you know the long-term effects, the hassles, the pain, the sleepless nights, the fear that it will happen again way too well. If you haven’t been a victim, consider yourself very lucky. In 2020, just in the United States there were 1,387,615 reported cases of identity fraud. Over 1 million cases – that’s frightening! And just so you can have an idea of just how frightening that is – in 2019 there were 650,523 cases in the U.S.

Identity theft can mean that your identity is compromised (stolen) basically through three different categories: identity theft, identity fraud and consumer fraud where banks and credit bureaus are involved.

So let’s define this for a second. What exactly is “Identity Theft”?  Identity theft means someone has your personal identity. That’s scary isn’t it?? They may have stolen your driver’s license, your social security number and are literally doing things in YOUR NAME. And, when they do that, they are committing crimes, committing fraud all under your name.

And yes, this can even happen by them simply getting a hold of your credit card online. If you’ve ever typed your credit card, birthdate, or social security number into a non-secure website online – you potentially became a victim of identity theft.

You can prevent it! See, I bet you knew tips were coming!

Here are 11 ways to prevent it – according to NerdWallet.

  1. Freeze your credit with all 3 credit bureaus. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion all allow you to freeze your credit for free. What this means is that no one will be able to acquire your credit bureau information without you receiving an alert. It also means that new credit files cannot be opened in your name!
  2. Where do you keep your social security number? If you’re like most of us, and you keep it in your wallet – don’t! If your wallet is stolen, so is your social security number. Safeguard your social security number by keeping it locked up in a safe place in your home. A fire box is great to keep them in!
  3. Be very alert of phishing and spoofing. Now, you’ve probably seen these words a million gazillion times but let’s talk about this for a second. If you have a phone call or an email which come in from the government, do not answer it. Chances are, it’s phishing or spoofing which means it’s fake.
  4. Use strong passwords. Your password should not – nor ever will be – password. Yes, people do that. Make your password very strong – numbers and symbols.
  5. Use alerts for your financial institutions. If you get a transaction, you’ll receive a text alert or an email. If it looks suspicious – contact your bank!
  6. Watch your mailbox. Believe it or not, stealing your mail is one of the top ways identity theft begins. If you go out of town, have your mail held at the post office!
  7. Shred, shred, shred, shred, shred. If you don’t need the document anymore, shred it!
  8. Use a digital wallet. Digital wallets, such as Apple Pay, are incredibly convenient and safe! You won’t have to carry your wallet around, can use it to shop online and through your phone apps, and it can be used in a bunch of stores!
  9. Check your credit reports. Trust me, check them. If things look strange (like that Best Buy credit card that you never signed up for), contact the merchant.
  10. Protect your mobile devices. Trust me – they can be a huge risk! Know how to protect them? Lock them. Only you know the code to access the phone.
  11. Last but definitely not least – monitor your financial and medical statements. Yes, identity theft can happen with hospitals and doctor offices too!

I hope this gives you a clear insight of some tricks to avoid this horrible thing. And, if you’ve been a victim before, please follow these steps as well! It’s a horrific thing to go through.

Thinking of buying a home in Greenville or our surrounding areas? I’d love to chat with you! We’ll find your dream home – together! Sellers – don’t forget to contact me in regards to selling your home too! My email is, and my direct phone is (864) 275-3953.

Real Estate News

Looking for a real estate agent to sell your home? Here are questions you should ask!

1.      How long have you been a real estate agent?

2.      In which neighborhoods do you specialize?

3.      How many clients are you representing right now?

4.      What is your marketing strategy?

5.      What is your success rate?

6.      How much do you charge and what’s included in your fee?

7.      Can you provide references?

8.      Can you also help me find a home to buy?

Greenville is one of the more affordable housing markets in the country. While the median home price has risen nearly 10% over the past year, at roughly $250,000, it’s more than $100,000 below the national average. That’s due to the overall affordability of housing across the Sun Belt region in cities like Greenville. Another factor is that the economy features a significant base of lower-wage jobs, like manufacturing, which has helped keep home prices more affordable.

Local Greenville SC News

Women – Unite! Greenville is getting a Women’s Professional Soccer Team! Greenville Triumph Soccer Club recently announced this new venture – but the team doesn’t have a name quite yet. They are one of 8 founding teams selected to be a part of the W League. More information of course will follow as it’s available, but it has already been announced that they’ll play at Legacy Early College. What are your thoughts? Will you go see them?

And…. If your ready to head out into our community for some fun, mark your calendar for June 19-20 and/or June 26-27. Denver Downs Farm is hosting their Sunflower Festival and you don’t want to miss it! Acres upon acres of sunflowers – all different varieties – will be available to admire, pick and photograph. You’ll also enjoy food, farm animals and live music! Check out their website for more info.

 People are on the move and I am ready to help you buy or sell in the Greenville area. Please contact Victoria Cottle by email or call (864) 275-3953 for your real estate needs in the Upstate of South Carolina! You can also always follow me on Facebook!

Victoria Cottle is a Realtor® in the Greenville South Carolina area and if you, a friend, or a family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

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The Victoria Cottle Group
Keller Williams Greenville Upstate
(864) 275-3953