Friday, July 31, 2015

Identity Theft: What to do when You are a Victim

If you have been a victim of identity theft, resolving the issue is not as easy as reporting a stolen car or other possession.  The crime can have many components, and resolving it is a multi-step process.  Here is some advice to help the process go smoothly.

First you want to get a copy of your credit report and close any accounts that you think have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.  Contact the security or fraud department of each company to report and dispute the fraudulent charges or accounts.  Follow up in writing with a dispute letter and other documents supporting your claim.

Report the crime to the police, but try to have an understanding of what they can and cannot do.  A police report can be a valuable tool for resolving fraudulent debts and cleaning up your credit report, but because the crime has so many components and is often perpetrated from a distance, it can be difficult to investigate. 

You can find an ID Theft Affidavit online form the Federal Trade Commission, and should fill this out before you file your police report.  Gather other relevant documents and information before you go, including:
  • When and how you discovered the theft.
  • Locations where fraudulent applications were submitted and/or purchases made.
  • Locations listed as home addresses on fraudulent applications.
  • Entire account numbers of accounts opened fraudulently or tampered with.
  • Dates of applications and/or purchases.
  • Photocopies of any documents or correspondence regarding the case.
The more information that you can provide in a calm and organized manner can increase the likelihood that your case will be investigated.

Keep a log of all phone calls and other correspondence between companies, investigators, and anyone else relevant to the case.  When you are asked to turn over any documents, be sure to keep copies for yourself.

Place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit report and enroll in a credit monitoring service.  Once your social security number has been compromised, you never know how many times it may have been sold so you need to be especially vigilant in monitoring your credit report.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The True Value Of Identity Theft Protection

Today, identity theft has emerged as one of the most significant crimes in the financial sector, and there are new methods being discovered on a regular basis for criminals to gain access to your personal data and wreak havoc. If you fall victim to a criminal who steals your information, you may find that that it takes years for your good credit to be restored, leaving you to deal with numerous problems. Without a good credit score, you can be rejected from the loans that you desperately need, or be unable to receive the mortgage that you've been hoping to get your hands on. In fact, some people find that their credit score even has an impact on their ability to get the job of their dreams. All of these demonstrate why identity theft protection is so important.

How Does Identity Theft Happen?

Identity theft happens when criminals manage to obtain enough of your personal information to use it illegally. By taking this information, they can generally wreak havoc on your life, assuming your identity, maxing out your credit cards, and leaving you with nothing more than pennies in your bank account. What's more, if such criminals take on your identity, they can identify themselves as you, resulting in your problems far worse than you might have originally imagined. All of this damage can be done before your next statement is even delivered - so what can you do to protect yourself?

Guarding Against Identity Theft

There are a number of options available for accessing some kind of protection against identity theft. First and foremost, you could be cautious by simply using common sense. For example, if you ever lose your credit card or fear that it might have been stolen, it is important to inform the authorities as quickly as possible so that the card can be cancelled and you can be issued with a new one. Aside from this, consider using Identity Guard® to help protect from identity theft. This credit monitoring service will allow you to watch your credit report information more carefully for signs of trouble, as well as delivering alerts to you when certain changes occur on your credit data.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Best Available Forms Of Identity Theft Protection

Identity theft is an epidemic that is growing by the year. As new evolutions and new technologies deliver exciting and convenient ways for us to explore the world as consumers, fraudulent and criminal individuals utilize that technology in malicious ways to obtain the information that they need. There are currently dozens of ways that criminals can get their hands on your details and force you to lose those all-important good credit ratings that you would like to have. Fortunately, although there is no way to make sure this will never happen, you may be able to protect from identity theft by following the right advice, and seeking out the right solutions.

Simple Ways To Protect Against Identity Theft

First and foremost, the simplest forms of protection you can access come in the actions that you take each day to keep yourself safe. For example, you should always protect your social security number as carefully as possible, and make sure that you never say it aloud in a public place. In addition, you should make sure that you shield your card as well as possible when using a public ATM machine. Even if it seems as though no one is watching, tiny cameras can be attached to ATM machines that have been designed to record your details.

Another good tip is to make sure that you shred your documents before throwing them away. Although this might seem somewhat archaic, many thieves could still get their hands on crucial personal information simply by digging through the garbage of their targets.

Protection Services

Another way to defend yourself against the threat of identity theft is with the use of specific credit monitoring services and solutions. Of course, in order to get the best possible resources for your circumstances, you may need to start by evaluating identity theft protection services and seeing exactly what they can do for you. This should be easy enough if you simply search for a couple of brands online, but if you'd like to get an inside scoop on what you can expect from your chosen company, you could always try checking out reviews written by previous customers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What Does Identity Theft Actually Mean?

Stealing a person's identity is a serious problem that exists throughout the world today in many different shapes and forms. No matter how hard we may try to defend ourselves against malicious individuals, it seems that there is always a new way for them to get their hands on our details, or finances, and disrupt our security. Although there are a number of different types of identity theft currently running rampant across society, it's worth noting that the most common option is generally financial ID theft. As the name may suggest, financial theft is the type of identity crime that happens when criminals use your identity in order to purchase goods or services on their behalf. This could mean making extravagant purchases in your name, or it could mean establishing new lines of credit, applying for loans, and setting up payments that you can't possibly manage in the future.

The Threat of This Kind of Theft

An unfortunate thing to realize about identity fraud, is that it is so versatile and pervasive, that we may never discover a way to protect ourselves against it 100 percent. No matter where you live, who you are, or what you do, you are at risk every single day of your life and there is now way to make sure it will never happen. You may be one of the many online shoppers who make use of the internet today, and you could choose to enter your details in an attempt to purchase goods online, only to find that you have been scammed. On the other hand, you could give away important passwords through phishing techniques designed to trick you into thinking you're logging onto your chosen website.

This kind of crime isn't just something that happens online, however. It's important to remember that even if you never use the internet, you can still become a victim if an individual decides to start searching through your trash for important data, or records your PIN when you're taking money from a public ATM.

Using Certain Services

So what exactly can you do to protect yourself? Perhaps the best solution comes in the form of services offered by companies like Identity Guard®, who can consistently monitor the behavior taking place within your credit reports and accounts, alert you when certain activities are detected - meaning you can take action if you suspect theft.

Monday, July 20, 2015

How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Around 15 million people in this country are victims of identity fraud each and every year and this number is growing. This essentially means that 7% of the population has already been victimized. The average amount of financial losses for each case is $3,500. That is a serious amount of money that most of us simply haven't got to spare. So how do you make sure you don't become the next victim of identity theft? Hopefully, the following tips will help.

Tips to Protect Yourself

First of all, there is your physical, everyday behavior. Make sure you shred every document that you throw away that has your name and address on it. Also, never walk around with all your bank cards and other documents with your information, including your Social Security Card.

Secondly, there is your online behavior. Most of this kind of theft now occurs online, which means you have to be very cautious when online. You must have a good firewall and virus scanner installed on your computer. You must also make sure that you use strong, unique passwords for every online account you have. Finally, never sign up for anything with your personal details unless you are 100% sure that the site can be trusted.

Finally, you should consider signing up for an identity protection service. Consider services like the one available at While no service can 100% prevent this crime from occurring, services like this allow you to be warned early on so that you can take appropriate action should you fall victim to an identity thief. One of the things these services do is send you an alert whenever there are specific changes observed on your credit report information obtained from the main credit bureaus.

As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to stop yourself from becoming the next statistic and victim of this type of theft. Or, if you suddenly find yourself a victim, you become aware of it as early as possible so that you take the necessary actions to prevent further damage to your finances and reputation.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Password Manager Adds Protection

If you spend any amount of time online, you know that you need a password for everything. Checking your email, reading your favorite articles, sharing your favorite recipes, keeping in touch with friends – it seems like everyone wants you to create a password. Most people end up using simple passwords or the same one for different sites; which puts them at risk for identity theft.

Identity theft is when someone uses your personal information without your permission. The best way to protect yourself is to limit access to your personally identifiable information. You do this by not carrying any cards or papers that show your social security number, shred documents before you throw them away, and only give your social security number when absolutely necessary. You should also be careful where you use your credit and debit cards, and where you enter data online.

Because much of your personal data is stored electronically, a password manager can help keep you protected. Passwords should be long, complex, and unique for each site. They should include letters (capital and lowercase), numbers, and symbols. You should always avoid the most common passwords such as pet names and birthdays. Some passwords managers can generate random passwords for you. Passwords made up of random characters are more difficult to crack than those made up of words.

Unless you are Rain Man, it is unlikely that you will be able to remember all these complex passwords yourself. This does not mean that you should just switch to simple passwords. Hackers love it when you go that route because the passwords that are easiest to remember are also easiest to crack. Instead, let a passwords manager create and store complex passwords for you. These programs allow you to log on to multiple sites and programs using one master password. You setup a complex password for each individual site (or let the program create the password for you), then never have to type it in or remember it again.

With a passwords manager, one complex master password keeps you from having to enter any others.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Identity Theft Protection

With many companies reporting mass data breaches and thieves always coming up with new ways to obtain your personal information, we all need to be vigilant about identity theft protection.

Identity theft is when someone uses someone else’s personal information without permission.  They can use this information to make purchases, claim benefits, take out loans, open credit cards, or even to start a whole new life.  This can wreak havoc on your own life.  Among other problems, loans and credit cards taken out in your name can ruin your credit score.  Your credit score is used by lenders to determine your credit terms and if you are even approved.

You can help protect from identity theft by monitoring your credit report.  Look for any accounts that you don’t recognize and dispute them if you find any.  You can also use an ID monitoring service to monitor your credit report for you.   For a fee, the service will alert you to certain changes in your credit report and public records.  This can give you early detection if your identity is compromised and acting quickly can minimize the fallout.

Monitoring your existing bank and credit card accounts can also help protect from identity theft.  Look for and dispute any charges that you didn’t make, even if they are small ones.  Sometimes a thief will charge a small amount just to see if the account is still active before they make bigger purchases.  Check your accounts often.  Again, early detection can save you money and hassle in the future.

Criminals are learning how profitable tax ID theft can be.  They use stolen social security numbers to file fake returns and claim the refunds.  Filing your return early can help protect from identity theft.  Do it as soon as you have the required information; or else when you do get around to it, you may receive a notice that your taxes have already been filed.  This puts a delay on receiving your real refund, with the added bonus of trying to work with the not-so-friendly IRS to clean up the mess.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Best Way To Protect Your Identity

There's no doubt that everyone, everywhere, would love to live in a place where they could rely on complete and reliable protection from criminals, thieves, and fraudulent individuals. We all dream of a world in which we could go about our daily lives knowing that there is a barrier between us and the people who want to harm us. Unfortunately, when it comes to identity fraud, all you can do is take steps to protect yourself from identity theft as you can never be sure that it will never happen. The world that we live in is constantly evolving, which means that criminals are frequently coming up with new ways to get hold of your private information. Fortunately, protecting your identity could be easier than you think.

Protection from Identity Theft

Identity theft protection comes in a wide range of different shapes and forms. When you decide that it's time to start learning how to protect your identity, you may find a number of articles giving you advice on how to be safer in day-to-day life - from covering your PIN when you access a public ATM, to ensuring that you never give out personal details online or over the phone. For some people, a vital first step comes with simply shredding sensitive documents before they throw them in the trash - as dumpster diving has regularly been discovered as a popular way for criminals to get their hands on sensitive information.

Using Credit Monitoring to Protect Your Identity

Another way that you can start to protect yourself against identity theft is with credit monitoring. These tools and services allow you to watch the changes taking place on your credit reports more often and more regularly than usual. This means that instead of waiting until you get your yearly report through the door, you can evaluate each and every update that takes place regarding your finances. This allows users to notice when something strange happens within their accounts that they think requires further investigation. What's more, with some credit monitoring systems, you can even receive alerts when certain changes are observed in your credit report information so that you can move as fast as you can to counter the activities of these criminals.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Protection From Identity Theft

Identity theft may not be number one on your list of fears, but it is something that you should be wary of.

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without your knowledge.   Your credit card information can be stolen and used to make a counterfeit card.  Your social security card can be used to apply for a new car loan to file a fake tax return.  The possibilities are endless.

You can help protect your identity by being careful with your personal information.  Shred anything that may include personal information before you throw it away.  Choose passwords that are long and strong.  They should include letters, numbers and symbols.  A password that is simple and easy to remember may also be simple to crack.  Keep your social security card in a secure location (like a lockbox in your house) and NOT in your wallet.  Don’t use wi-fi that is not secure.  It seems like free wi-fi is available just about everywhere these days, but it can put your information at risk.

No matter how careful you are, you can never be 100% safe.  With companies reporting large-scale data breaches and thieves finding new ways to steal your data, you should take extra precautions.  Monitoring your credit report can help protect you.  You can get a free copy of it one time a year and should look for accounts that you don’t recognize.  Identity theft monitoring services also offer protection from identity theft.  These services monitor you credit report and public records and alert you to certain changes.  If someone uses your name and social security number to apply for a new credit card or loan, you will be promptly notified.  Early detection can make a huge difference in damage control.

Also monitor your bank accounts.  Many companies allow you to check your account online as often as you like.  Take advantage of this because if you just wait for monthly statements, a thief with your credit or debit card number can spend a lot of money before you even know what is going on.