How to Defend Against Identity Theft
Are you protected.
One in Three people have had their identity stolen or know someone who has had their identity stolen.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is fraud involving stealing money or other benefits using someone else's identification.
Over 10 million victims in the US.
The main types of identity theft:
Monetary - Receiving goods and/or services by using anothers identity.
Criminal - Pretending to be someone else when caught committing a crime.
Cloning - Assuming someone else's identity to receive benefits like medicare and social security benefits.
Business identity - Using another business name to obtain credit.
Every 4 seconds an identity is stolen.
How do they steal your identity?
- They stealing your mail or take sensitive information out of your garbage.
- They scrounge public dumps for old computers and phones for information left on them.
- They search public records.
- They steal credit card numbers by various easy methods including picking your pocket, grabbing your credit card receipts, or "shoulder surfing", looking over your shoulder while you use your card.
- They steal your sensitive information from computer data bases.
- They make fake job offers where victims give up much of their personal information.
- They get jobs with organizations that store your personal information.
- They pretend to be an organization you trust by contacting you electronically.
- They surf the internet for people on social networking sites that innocently give away sensitive personal information.
Victims spend and average of 600 hours recovering from identity theft.
What You Can Do.
First, be aware of the danger and start paying close attention to your financial accounts.
Look for unexpected charges on a credit card bill, sudden unexpected declining of credit, late bills and late payments.
Protect sensitive information when on line and only use trusted services.
Double check anything coming out of the blue where they ask for you to provide sensitive information or give them money.
If you suspect theft:
Notify any company that issued money or credit to someone using your identity. They usually have a fraud department that will help you.
Contact the biggest credit reporting agencies. (US) Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Ask them for a copy of your credit report and put a 'fraud alert' on your credit account. Then review the reports for any errors.
Call the Law. File a report with your local police and refer to this report when talking with the various places this crime was committed.
Contact the FTC. They will not work on your case, but the information you provide may help in getting more of these crooks.
Contact the people who give you your identity numbers.
- If there was mail fraud, contact the US Post Office.
- Contact the Social Security Office if you suspect your SS# was stolen. Get a report of your earnings and benefits statement.
- Contact your Department of Motor vehicles if your license was used illegally.
- If a bankruptcy was filed using your id, contact the US Trustee Program.
The very best thing anyone can do is stop identity theft BEFORE it happens.
Many companies offer some level of identity protection. A few of the biggest and best are LoudSiren, LifeLock, and Trusted ID.
They all offer $1,000,000 in protection and are similar in other ways and cost between $10 and $15 a month.
However, LifeLock is the first one, that I know of, with the ISO 27001 certification. This means they have a very tight security procedure at their headquarters.
LifeLock also protects children and have something called WalletLock to replace all of your ID if you purse or wallet is stolen.
Identity theft is easy to get away with and is a growing problem. Organized crime, gangs, terrorists, and illegal immigrants are all interested in stealing your good name, money and credit.
The best defense is to be Proactive and Stop the Crime before they do any damage.
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