Friday, February 26, 2021

Don’t Be a Victim of Identity Theft

 

Just about everybody has heard of identity theft, but most people do not believe it could ever happen to them. The fact is, identity theft is more common than most believe. It’s not hard for identity thieves to obtain all of the information they need in order to assume another person’s identity, but it can be made a whole lot harder for them if people remain smart and protect themselves as completely as possible.

When it Happens…

If a person becomes a victim of identity theft, it can take a long time – possibly years – to recover from it. It can also cost the victim thousands of dollars as well as ruin their credit score. Usually, it’s nearly impossible to recover from identity theft in a quick manner because many things have to be resolved before forgiveness will be given by the three major credit reporting companies in the United States.

If identity theft does happen, the person who is the victim will probably experience problems obtaining any sort of financing (mortgage, car loan, student loan, credit cards, etc…). And, the worst thing that can happen is that the victim of identity theft can even get arrested for crimes he or she did not commit.

All of the results of being a victim of identity theft are not fair, and are very difficult to resolve. Being a victim can be a real headache and can basically interrupt or stall an innocent person’s life for several years. So, the best possible thing is to do is to try and do anything and everything to prevent becoming a victim in the first place.

Protect Personal Information

The easiest way for identity thieves can assume another person’s identity is to obtain personal information from a potential victim and use that information to fill out loan or credit card applications.

While most victims do not offer thieves their personal information, they are not aware that their information is contained on many documents that they have not disposed of properly. For example, thieves have been known to go through people’s trash cans looking for personal information. When papers are thrown away without being shredded, thieves can retrieve the information and use it.

Thieves are also known to go through people’s mailboxes to obtain in-coming letters from banks and/or credit card applications and use the data from these various pieces of mail to apply for loans or credit with the stolen information.

In-coming mail is not the only source of mail-related information that thieves can acquire. Out-going mail that is placed in a person’s mailbox for the mailman to pick up and take to the post office is a great source of information for thieves. When a flag is placed in the upright position on a mailbox to indicate that letters are inside waiting to be mailed, it’s like a signal to thieves that they should come on over and steal it. Therefore, letters should always be mailed in a post office mailbox instead of a personal/home mailbox.

Other Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

It’s not difficult to perform some easy steps to prevent being a victim of identity theft. In addition to properly disposing of paper containing personal information and mailing letters at the post office, following are some additional tips:

  • Always destroy receipts, credit card applications, tax information, canceled checks, and mortgage information before throwing it away. This means completely shredding it or even burning it before it reaches the trash can.
  • Even if a credit card is expired, cut it into tiny little pieces before throwing it away. Some people throw half of the tiny pieces into one trash bag and half into another trash bag.
  • Report stolen credit cards immediately to credit card companies. Don’t wait an entire day… do it the minute they’re discovered to be missing.
  • Monitor credit reports on a regular basis, and watch for anything suspicious. If anything out of the ordinary appears, investigate it right away.

It Really is Time to Worry About Identity Theft

 

All of us, no matter how careful, can become victims of identity theft. In fact, it was determined every three seconds another identity is stolen. In 2007 there were seventy nine million credit card and Social Security Number thefts according to major news media investigations. That was an increase of four million additional people over the previous years statistics, that had their identity or financial information compromised. This makes identity theft one of the fastest growing crimes in America.

Anyone with a Social Security number and assets to loose should be concerned with identity theft. Unfortunately, a common belief by many people is they assume they have nothing significant for thief’s to take advantage of. Bear in mind criminals are much better than you are at making use of your information. For example; there is credit card theft where someone steals your credit card and runs up charges. Identity theft is where someone steals your personal information (social security number, date of birth, name, etc.) and uses your identity to open a new line of credit, gain employment or even establish citizenship.

You must realize that your information is stored locally and nationally. Your dentist, doctor, banking facility(s), college transcript, club memberships are examples of data configurations where your personal information is stored. I don’t have to remind you there have been numerous sophisticated agencies and institutions hacked into and identities stolen. How easy it would be to have your identity stolen from neighborhood businesses, your mailbox or even your trash receptacles. Yes shredding papers listing your personal information is a great step to protect your identity but as indicated, your information is everywhere.

It’s no secret that many savvy consumers have learned to place fraud alerts on their accounts which prompt creditors to call them if someone is trying to establish credit in their names. But did you know these alerts are generally only valid for a period of ninety days? Are you really confident enough to believe your going to take the time or for that matter, even remember to renew fraud alerts every three months? Remember too, just because you have fraud alerts placed does not guarantee you from becoming a victim.

There is an option to implement a credit freeze which locks down all of your personal information making it impossible for anyone to open a line of credit in your name, including you. There are also fees involved with many credit freezes. When you place a freeze, you pay a fee. From there on, if you want to open any new line of credit (loan, credit card, cell phone) the freeze must be lifted; there will be a fee for that as well. Currently 33 states and the District of Columbia offer the credit freeze option, but if you are not living in one of them, you cannot do this.

Credit watch services have come into prominence thanks to the many breaches that have been publicized. What exactly is a credit watch, and what benefit does such a service offer the consumer? Credit Monitoring (or a watch) is the credit bureau selling the consumer their own information. After there has been a change on your credit report, the bureau notifies you in 24 to 72 hours that there has been a change. It is then the consumer’s responsibility to check the information for accuracy and by the way, if they find that it is a case of identity theft, the consumer is responsible for any losses, expenses and has to spend the time to clean up the mess. The Bureaus do nothing to actually prevent the crime of identity theft, nor do they help fix the problem. The FTC says it takes an average of 177 hours and over two years to clean up an identity or credit compromise, if you can clean it up at all.

I’m not trying to come off as a fatalist and give anyone the impression there is nothing that can be done about criminal activity. If you worry about identity theft, then it’s time you got to know about identity theft services. These agencies provide proactive identity theft protection.

On your behalf, ID theft companies request that fraud alerts be placed on your accounts. By placing these fraud alerts, you are asking that creditors take extra care to identify who you are and to investigate the validity of any pending transaction. These services also request that your name be removed from pre-approved credit card lists and junk mail lists. Additionally, services annually order your free credit reports from the three major credit reporting bureaus. In the event that your identity is compromised, qualified professionals are available to assist you in addressing whatever complications may arise.

In summary one might ask; if the consumer can do these things by themselves, what is the need for an identity theft service? The simple answer is nothing more than convenience and protection. The assurance that nothing is overlooked in the shuffle and required responsibilities in everyday living that would keep you from taking the measures necessary to protect your identity. These services have but one concern and mission, to safeguard your identity and assets.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Identity Theft Books Are a Useful Guide to Help Prevent Identity Theft

 

There are many different reasons as to why you should get yourself identity theft books, and the most obvious is so that you can learn about identity theft in general and so that you can protect yourself from being an identity theft victim as much as you possibly can. There are so many different identity theft books out there, and you want to make sure that you get as many as you can so that you can be as informed as you possibly can.

More About Identity Theft Books

You can find identity theft books anywhere, from the local bookstore to your local library. One of the best places of all that you can go to find identity theft books is on the Internet, because here you will get the best selection, and due to the speed and efficiency of the Internet, you are able to find everything you need quickly and easily.

Remember that by buying these sorts of books, you will not only be able to learn about what identity theft is, but as well you are going to be able to learn about the steps and precautions that you can take in order to make yourself as guarded against this type of theft as you possibly can. Identity theft is in fact one of the most common crimes out there today, and this is primarily due to the fact of how technologically advanced a world we live in today.

There is no definitive way that you can keep yourself from becoming a victim of this type of crime, however prevention is the best method for everything, especially something like this, and so thus you are going to want to take all of the steps that you possibly can in order to make sure that you get the best results possible, meaning that you end up being as guarded against this as you can be.

You are going to want to do things such as get rid of all your credit cards if you can, or at least refrain from using them over the Internet on a regular basis, because this is one of the most common ways that identity thieves use to steal a person’s identity. As well, you are going to want to make sure that you only carry around the identification with you that you need to, so that if you do ever end up losing your wallet while you are out, for instance, that you only lose a few things.