Saturday, October 31, 2015

Identity Protection in Today's World

identity protection
How to protect your identity is one of the most important questions that you can be asking yourself.  Last year, approximately 14 million people were victims of identity theft.  There are so many things to know about this topic.  Most of us are aware that there are big time identity criminals out there, especially those using automated processes on the internet.  Additionally, though, there are small time, opportunistic identity thieves who are just waiting for you to drop your wallet or leave your ATM card in the automatic teller.  Perhaps most surprisingly, about a third of people who have their identities stolen are victims of friends or family who have easy access to valuable personal information.  Children can be surprising, but especially attractive targets for these last kinds of thieves because their records appear "clean".

You may be asking, "How can I protect my identity?" when there are so many cases of theft every year, and so many types of identity criminals.  Some of the first steps are really simple.  Keep your important personal documents such as your social security card, birth certificate and passport locked up so that they are not easily accessible to opportunistic criminals who may or may not be friends of family members.

It is also important that you know how to protect your identity on a larger scale.  This might mean keeping track of your credit score and periodically ordering copies of your credit report.  But, did you know, there are three major credit reporting bureaus that keep track of this information?  It would take a lot of time to continually monitor those scores and review those reports.

If you are wondering how to more efficiently protect from identity theft, you are probably a good candidate for Identity Guard®.  Identity Guard provides ongoing monitoring of not only your credit reports, but of your identity by looking for any certain activity of your valuable personal information.  With Identity Guard, you will receive not only quarterly credit scores and reports from the three major bureaus, but ongoing alerts whenever certain activities are detected. These reports and timely alerts may help you to take action to protect your identity before the damage escalates to something that could take months of your time and hundreds of dollars to correct.

How to Get Free Identity Theft Protection

free identity theft protection
Identity theft is a serious problem and occurs when someone uses your personal information to commit fraud. Research indicates that millions of consumers are victims of identity theft every single year. Data shows that the numbers are only expected to increase.

Identity thieves typically use personal information to open accounts in other names. The results can be absolutely devastating and can easily take months or years to recover from. The good news is there are ways to get identity theft protection on your own.

The following are free measures you can take to protect against identity theft.

Monitor Your Bank StatementsConsumers can easily check their bank statements online. Be sure to do so regularly so you know exactly how much is coming in and how much is going out. Purchases from unfamiliar companies are typically indications of identity theft. Contact your bank immediately if you notice anything suspicious.

Monitor Your Credit ReportConsumers are legally entitled by law to receive a free copy of their credit report every year from each of the three credit bureaus. What you can do is request one every four months to spread out the number of times you request your reports. Look for any unfamiliar activity such as new accounts or lines of credit that you didn't open. Monitoring your credit report provides protection from identity theft but you will need to contact credit issuers directly for any fraudulent activity.

Protect Your Information OnlineMany of us now do most of our shopping online. But your personal information is still vulnerable to theft. Always use a secure network when making purchases online or when logging into a bank account. Make sure to also clear usernames and passwords especially from a public computer. Another recommendation is to pay with purchases online using a credit card as there is much better fraud protection in place.

Place a Security FreezeA more drastic measure to take that is highly effective to protect against identity theft is to place a security freeze. This prevents anyone from accessing your credit report and extending any form of credit in your name. The fees to place a security freeze depend on your location, but are usually waived if you are already a victim of identity theft. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Identity Theft - What You Need To Know To Stay Safe

What do you think of when someone says that they have had their identity stolen?  If you are like most people, you immediately assume that a criminal has gotten some of their actual credit cards and used them to make unauthorized purchases.  If you are someone who uses your personal computer or mobile device for a lot of transactions, you may even think that some malware that stole a credit card number from an online transaction.  While these are excellent examples of what can happen when someone steals specific financial information, they are only the tip of the iceberg with regard to what can happen when your entire identity is stolen.

Identity TheftIf you become a victim of identity theft, your credit history and credit score are important concerns.  But, there is a lot more on the line.  A criminal who is able to access your birth date, social security number and address can essentially assume your entire identity for a number of purposes that might not immediately come to mind.  They might obtain identification in your name and use that identification if they are arrested for a crime.  An undocumented person could potentially use such identification to pose as a citizen, gain employment, or receive healthcare under your identity.  An identity thief could even get married using your name and information.  The possibilities are almost endless.  The amount of work that you might have to do to clean up a mess like this is mind boggling.

There are a few things you can do to keep your identity safe.  Be very careful what sensitive information you share with others over the phone and online.  Sometimes, a thief will send out what are known as phishing emails.  These emails may look like they come from your bank or your phone company.  Don't respond to these emails if they request sensitive information like your password or social security number.  Contact the company directly to find out if they actually need to talk to you.  Reputable companies will almost never ask for your passwords in any context.  

Keep your sensitive documents secure.  Lock up your birth certificate and social security card when they are not being used.  Secure your online information by using anti virus and anti malware software on your personal computer.  Use strong passwords make up of a combinations of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols.  While it is impossible to keep your identity completely safe all of the time, Identity Guard® can provide you will tools and support to greatly increase your security and peace of mind. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Protect Your Identity With Identity Theft Protection Services

identity theft protection
Identity theft continues to be a major problem.

Anytime you make a transaction online or even at a store, your identity is at risk. Identity thieves use sophisticated means to extract sensitive information such as account details. Combined with other information, attackers can open accounts in your name and cause significant damage to your credit.

Recovering from identity theft can take several years and is extremely costly. Here is how consumers can benefit greatly from identity theft protection services.

Credit Monitoring

Checking your credit report and bank statements regularly is a good idea as it can reveal signs of suspicious activity. Identity protection services offer credit monitoring and provide alerts of certain changes. This allows you to stay on top of your credit.

Identity Monitoring

Your information could be used right now without even knowing it. Theft protection services also offer identity and public record monitoring to better protect from identity theft. This means that your information is actively monitored and you get alerts for certain types of activity.

Software Tools

Identity thieves are able to extract reams of data from unsuspecting victims. Which is why keeping your computer safe with antivirus and firewall protection is essential. Identity theft protection offers software tools to keep your device protected.

Recovery Assistance

No matter how many precautions you take, you can still be a victim of identity theft.

Identity protection offers personal recovery assistance. In the event your identity is compromised, you need to take immediate action. Having an expert guide you and advise on the next steps ensures that nothing is left to chance. So you can get your identity back and recover from all damages.

These days you need to be extra careful with your information.

Otherwise you could be a victim of identity theft. Identity theft protection services help you stay on top of your credit and provide a suite of tools to keep your computer protected. But perhaps the biggest benefit is the personal recovery assistance so you know exactly what to do. These services provide incredible value and are well worth the cost.

Should I Choose a Credit Monitoring Service?

credit monitoring

Without a doubt, services like credit and identity monitors are huge assets to people that are looking for increased protection of the information that means the most to them. Financial and personally identifiable information  are often used by thieves as a way to take what does not belong to them. By choosing to use a service like this, you'll be able to have a more firm understanding of exactly what is happening within your accounts even if you don't check them often - or cannot search through each one on a regular basis. 

Credit monitors are used by people that are looking for an extra layer of safety of their information and finances. While this type of service cannot (and does not) guarantee you'll never become a victim, it alerts users to their potential presence and allows them to take action. By alerting you to certain activity, you can either confirm the action was yours or investigate further if you suspect something else is going on. Unfortunately, in cases of identity theft, victims often don't discover that anything is wrong until it is too late, and then it can take months or years to fully recover. A credit monitor will help to shorten the time between unjust access by thieves and discovery by users, which is an asset in fighting identity theft - and decreasing the amount of financial distress that people experience.

Services monitoring credit are useful because they provide valuable information and ensure that there is an extra set of "eyes" on accounts at all times. As computer services, they never take breaks, they never get tired, and they are able to scan through large amounts of information in very little time. In past cases where people were victimized by thieves, time was important, meaning that knowing something quickly made a great deal of difference in the outcome of situations. Credit monitoring has grown in popularity over the last few years due to the prevalence of this type of theft, and the companies that offer their services in this manner have created products that they stand behind, and are continually improving in order to stay current with the latest tactics used by thieves.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Why is Credit Fraud Protection Important?

Many of the activities people take part in today are done electronically with credit and debit cards. Each time we use our information online, we are exposing ourselves to risk - many sites have safety precautions in place to keep information from falling into the wrong hands, but it can still happen. Identity thieves are skilled at what they do, making it very important to have some sort of protection from credit fraud in place, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. This type of protection is available in many forms - from services provided for a fee by companies to simply changing Internet habits; what you choose will depend on your individual situation.

Some fraud protection come with a safety feature already installed. Credit card companies will track your spending, and when a suspicious purchase or amount is noticed, they will place a hold on the account and contact you directly to confirm or deny the use. This is a rare occurrence, and you should know from the get go whether or not your particular card provider offers this service.

Your information is your identity, and having it compromised is a surefire way to put a kink into even the best laid plans. Having a credit monitor is a different kind of credit fraud protection, but it is also extremely useful. This type of service keeps an eye on all your personal and financial information, not a specific card. Knowing what is happening across the board will keep you just a little bit ahead of some of the nastiest surprises and cases of fraud.

As thieves rely on the ignorance of their victims, it's important to assess your own tendencies and habits in order to keep yourself from falling prey to any type of credit or identity theft. Protection from credit fraud can be the result of something as simple as changing passwords, only using secure sites and ensuring that no one else knows your information.

No one wants to be a victim, but it is up to you to take control of your situation and keep yourself safe by any means necessary.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Know how to Protect your Identity

Did you know that identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. today?  Given that around 14 million people had their identities stolen last year, you may be wondering, "How do I protect my identity?"   Here are a few helpful tips on to how to protect your identity:

Be careful in using technology.  

Almost everyone uses a personal computer these days, sometimes more than one.  Do not provide sensitive personal information in unsolicited emails, even if they appear to come from a company you know and trust.  Do not subscribe to web pages that require you to input your credit card number or social security number to gain access, and avoid clicking on third party links (links within links).  If you must submit sensitive personal information electronically, never do it over a public WIFI connection.

Take care of your credit cards.

Always know with which companies you have accounts open, and keep the actual cards and their accompanying information in a safe place.  There is no reason to carry every credit card you have every day.  This just creates a mess of plastic in your wallet or purse and makes it more likely that you will not miss a card if it falls on the floor or you inadvertently leave is somewhere.  Carry only the card you plan to use for the day.

Be aware of common scams.
One of the newer scams that has been developed as technology has become more sophisticated is called "skimming".  A skimmer is a device that is placed on a credit card reader that electronically steals your data.  Skimmers are sometimes even placed in ATM machines.  Though it may be impossible to avoid all skimming devices, you can reduce the chances of having your information stolen in this way by not using automated, unmanned card readers.  Go inside the gas station to pay instead of using the card reader at the pump.  If possible, have a live teller complete your banking transaction instead of using an ATM machine.

Now you know a little bit more about how to protect your identity.  Identity Guard® is an excellent company to contact the next time you are asking, "How do I protect my identity?"