Monday, August 31, 2015
Unfortunately, despite the fact that most people know about this type of crime, many still don't understand how they can protect themselves against it. In most cases, identity theft takes place when criminals manage to get their hands on your personal details - usually relating to your credit card or financial accounts. These individuals then use the information that they have gathered to take loans out in your name, steal your money, and leave your credit in ruins. So who's at risk?
Who Could Become a Victim?
Some people simply convince themselves that they're as safe as can be, so long as they make sure they don't visit any dangerous websites or download strange files online. Unfortunately, although this particular kind of fraud can certainly take place online, it's important to remember that there are a number of different ways in which criminals can get the information that they need to take your identity.
Regardless of how cautious you may think you are, it's worth noting that just about every single person with a credit card or financial account is at risk. This is one of the reasons why it's so important to ensure that you have the right protection.
Getting Some Protection
Defending yourself against criminals out to get your identity so that can commit credit card fraud and other crimes, simple starts with being cautious with how you handle your personal information. However, you can also access specialized and effective help from identity theft protection services, which give you the opportunity to frequently monitor your credit information. Also, the service company usually monitors your data on a regular basis and sends you an alert when certain changes are observed so that you can investigate and take action if needed.
Friday, August 28, 2015
Anyone can be a target of identity theft, but some of the most valuable targets for thieves are seniors and children. If your children or elderly parents aren’t taking out loans or using credit cards, you may think that they are not at risk, but they are. Learn why they are targeted and how you can help provide identity theft protection for your whole family.
A growing number of identity theft victims are children, and there is probably even more than have been reported because the theft may not be discovered until the child turns 18 and tries to open a credit card or get financing for school or a car. Children are valuable targets because of their clean credit history. Help protect from identity theft by:
- Not giving out their social security number unless absolutely necessary. Keep the card in a safe place in your home – not in your wallet.
- Monitoring their online activity and using parental controls to limit sites they can visit. Also, educate them about online risks.
- Don’t teach them their social security number until they are old enough to understand that they need to keep it safe.
- Protect from identity theft by watching for red flags, such as credit card offers, collection notices, or other mail generally meant for adults.
Seniors can be targeted because they are more likely to own their home or to have money saved up. Scammers also take advantage of the fact that many seniors are not as comfortable with technology or knowledgeable about the internet as younger generations. They should protect from identity theft by:
- Being aware of medical identity theft. Check medical records often, and don’t carry a medical ID card on you.
- Don’t give any personal information over the phone. Phone scams can offer bogus deals or investment opportunities to trick seniors into giving away personal information. If an offer was unsolicited, chances are that it is a scam.
- Help educate them on the internet, how to use it, and the dangers.
- You should be understanding. Anyone can make a mistake, and if they are a victim of a scam, chances are they feel bad enough already. An overly negative reaction may just make them less likely to report it if it happens again for fear that family will think they are no longer able to handle their own financial affairs.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
When you think of sensitive and valuable personal information, social security number, account numbers, and credit card numbers are probably what come to mind. You take password protection seriously for your online banking and credit card accounts, but did you know that you should be protecting passwords for your other seemingly less valuable accounts like social media, or gaming accounts? Scammers are targeting these accounts more often and you need to be protecting passwords all across the web.
You know not to post your social security number or driver’s license number on your social media page, but you still need to know how to protect passwords for it because even information that seems innocent can be valuable to scammers. Many sites don’t allow you to make up your own password recovery questions, and the ones that are available can often be found out by accessing your social media. Mother’s maiden name can be guessed by looking at who you have listed as uncles or grandparents, favorite vacation spot can be discovered at your photo album labeled “best vacation ever,” often schools you have attended and places where you have lived are listed – the list goes on.
If a criminal were to access your social media, they may pretend to be you to trick friends and family into revealing more information about you or themselves.
Even with a secure password, set your privacy setting to the highest level possible. It won’t matter how secure your password is if you whole profile is public.
These can also be targeted by scammers and protecting passwords is important. A simple password could result in your payment information being found out, your account being hijacked, or virtual assets being sold. Many games use credits or other assets that can be sold in game, or for real money. Never trust an email or in game communication claiming to be from game moderators or other official requesting your password. A legitimate company won’t ask you for your password. When you want to communicate with them, do it from the game’s official site.
Saturday, August 15, 2015
You would never leave valuable possessions out where they can be stolen, you either keep an eye on them, or keep them under lock and key. If you are not taking similar precautions with your identity, then you are putting yourself at risk for identity theft.
In order for someone to commit identity theft, they first need to obtain some of your personal information. You can help prevent this by:
- Shredding documents and papers before you throw them away.
- Not carrying your social security card in your wallet.
- Being careful when you enter information online. Make sure that the website is legitimate and your wi-fi connection is secure.
- Be wary of emails or phone calls requesting personal information. They are likely scams, but if you believe that they may be legitimate, contact the company directly to find out.
- Don’t give out your social security number unless absolutely necessary.
- Using complex passwords online, and using a different one for every account.
You can be vigilant about protecting your information, but enterprising thieves are always coming up with new ways to access it, so identity theft monitoring can be your best ally in combating identity theft. When someone applies for financing in your name, it shows up on your credit report. Identity theft monitoring services watch for new accounts and other changes to your credit report, and alert you to them. If your identity is stolen, identity monitoring services can be the best way to find out about it before too much damage is done, and they can also help guide you through the complicated process of resolving the issue.
There are many identity monitoring services available, so be sure to read up on what you are actually getting before you choose one. You want to use identity monitoring that checks your credit report from all three credit bureaus, and that does so at least monthly. You should also be able to choose to receive your notifications through phone, email, or text.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
The advent of the internet brought with it so much positive change. You can now send mail, go shopping, order food, conduct banking, have meetings, talk to your friends, see the world... all without getting out of bed. The internet has literally changed the way that people do business and communicate with each other. Unfortunately, along with all of these benefits comes a major drawback; identity thieves now have another avenue to steal your personal information. There are practices that you can engage in to help reduce your risk and attain better identity theft protection.
Monitor Your Credit
Keeping an eye on your credit activity will help you in a variety of ways. Not only will you have a better handle on your financial transactions, but you will also know if there is unusual activity. New lines of credit that you didn't apply for will often indicate fraudulent activity that a criminal is engaging in at your expense. As an American, you are entitled to a free yearly credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. Request these reports evenly throughout the year to keep a watch over your credit activity every four months or so. For the times in between, you can take a look at the services offered at Identity Guard's site that can be found here http://www.identityguard.com.
Get Professional Help
If you want to protect from identity theft, getting the help of an experienced company is probably a good idea. Identity Guard® has been around for nearly two decades, and can help you with identity theft protection. They can help you monitor your identity, credit, and public records and supply you with prompt alerts to certain activity. They offer a suite of software solutions designed to help keep your digital information safe. They even offer help recovering your identity if your information is stolen while you're a member. Count on Identity Guard identity theft protection to help protect what makes you... you.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Often when there are fraudulent charges on a credit card, it is the credit card company that absorbs the loss, so it is not surprising that they offer some security options. Not all companies offer the same security options, so do your research on credit card fraud protection and read the fine print before you choose a card. You want a card that can be relied for prevention, detection, and resolution of fraud.
Increased prevention methods can pre-empt a fraud event. Look for a credit card that offers education to improve customer’s understanding of fraud prevention measures. They should provide information about safety both online and off-line. Cards with the best preventative measures will offer a two-factor authentication for your online account. In addition to your password, a second authentication (usually a one-time use code sent to your phone) is also needed.
Chip-enabled cards can also help provide protection from credit card fraud. Traditional cards use a magnetic strip with unchanging information, but chip-enabled ones generate a unique transaction code every time the card is used. If the data is stolen from a transaction it cannot be used in another. All credit cards should be using this technology by October 1, 2015.
Look for a credit card that lets you set up alerts for both large amounts, and when the card is used in an unusual location. Find one that lets you customize the alerts for your lifestyle. Some automatically decline a purchase if it is over a certain amount, others may let the transaction go through, but notify you immediately with a phone call or email.
Credit card companies can offer protection from credit card fraud by flagging suspicious transactions immediately, but you still want to check your account activity on a regular basis for anything that slips through the cracks.
You can always call a company with questions before you start doing business with them to see how helpful their customer service is. A company that offers good protection from credit card fraud will offer reversal of charges or a line of credit in 24 hours. They should also have 24/7 account suspension available, and a follow-up from a customer service representative.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Identity Theft can Harm You Without Your Knowing
Identity theft is a very profitable business for criminals, and there were over 13 million victims in 2013. Some people think that identity theft can't happen to them, because they don't post personal information on social media, or that they are too young and their credit is too undeveloped to appeal to identity thieves. These fallacies leave some victims ignorant to the fact that their identity has been stolen. Identity thieves are very attracted to new and undeveloped credit of younger citizens because it represents a clean start. Some criminals will even commit crimes in the name of a stolen identity, and a clean record of a young individual suits their needs perfectly. So no matter how safe you think you are, theft of identity can affect everyone.
How can I Find Out if My Identity has been Stolen?
Monitor Financial Transactions
One way to know if your identity has been stolen is to closely monitor your financial transactions. If an identity thief makes small charges with your credit or banking information, you may not notice for a long period of time. However, by closely monitoring your transactions, and reviewing your financial statements, you can spot identity theft before is causes too much damage.
Sometimes, if your identity is stolen, thieves will not make fraudulent transactions through your existing accounts, but will instead open new lines of credit. Monitoring your bank statements will not help to identify theft in this instance. By monitoring credit reports, you can find out if new lines of credit have been opened with your ID.
Use a Third Party Identity Theft Expert
Identity Theft Protection is available from many veteran organizations. Organizations like Identity Guard use credit monitoring, identity monitoring, public record monitoring, and provide prompt alerts if certain suspicious activity occurs. These experts help to keep you aware and alert of fraud so that you can sleep at night knowing that you have help protecting your hard earned reputation.