Identity Theft Prevention Can Lessen Your Chances Of Having Bad Credit

threats-of-identity-theftIt can happen to anyone, anytime. Your phone suddenly rings and a man on the other line demands you to pay your past-due bills for purchases you never made. You’re trying to buy flowers for your date, but your credit card gets declined. You pay your bills every month and then suddenly have no history of non-payment. What went wrong?

These are common scenarios that surround ID theft. Identity theft on the Web is becoming more rampant nowadays. It strikes fear in consumers, because of its damaging effects on the poor victims.

Despite your efforts to live a responsible financial life, you can still end up with a bad credit from id theft. Listed below are some tips you can use to protect yourself from id theft:Treat your trash with care

Credit card receipts and other billing statements that seem to have no value to us anymore can be directly tossed into the garbage can, because these are now “trash.” However, your trash bin can be a goldmine for id thieves looking for valuable information to steal. Thieves known as “dumpster divers” recycle your waste, especially if it’s an old bill or credit card receipt, because the information contained in this piece of paper is what they need to create fraud accounts on your name. What you have to do is to destroy, through burning or shredding, all you important receipts before disposing to prevent these thieves from hurting your credit.Check card slots for signs of skimming

Credit card skimming is a sophisticated way to copy all the information from the consumer’s card. Just one swipe of your card in the ATM machine, and your personal information can be stolen. By fitting the skimming device in the card reader slot, thieves can transfer the information of victim to a blank card, which they’ll use to purchase items and other services. Common areas of skimming are gas stations and ATMs. Remember to check the card swiper before using it, for signs of tampering or other unnecessarily attached devices.Be mindful of your monthly statements

Stay alert because ID thieves sometimes steal your bills directly from your mailbox. If you haven’t received your credit card statement and other utility bills when you usually do (and it never arrives), notify your card company. Inform them that you haven’t received your bills for the month yet. If you know when to expect your statements and you call your creditors to inform them about the incident, the earlier you can detect an identity theft.Carry only what you need in your wallet. Sign up for a credit monitoring plan from a trusted company such as LifeLock or one of the 3 major credit bureaus.  This will help keep daily tabs on your credit reports and alert you of any potential identity theft threats.

It is weekend and you’re on your way to the supermarket to buy things that you’ll need. Is it really necessary to bring all your credit cards? Will you need your passport and social security number during this time? Just one credit card is enough to pay for the purchases you’ll make, and there’s no need to carry your other IDs all the time. Bring only the most needed valuable whenever you’re outside, and leave others at home. Keep them secure because once you lose or misplace them, ID theft can take place.

Ways Identity Thieves Can Obtain Your Personal Information

A criminal can obtain personal information on another person in many ways. “Dumpster Diving” is a method perpetrators use by going through a person’s garbage, communal dumpsters, or trash bins. These criminals can obtain copies of checks, credit card statements, bank statements, receipts, and carbons. The criminal will search for anything bearing your name, address, telephone number, and social security number.

Another way identity thieves can obtain information is through “Shoulder Surfing”. This is a method perpetrators use by looking over an individual’s shoulder while in a checkout lane and memorizing the information on a check or a credit card. The perpetrator can also get calling card information or credit card information by looking over the shoulder of a person on a public telephone or just by eavesdropping if someone is giving their credit card information over the phone.

“Skimming” is another way for information to be obtained. There are different types of skimming. A waiter at a restaurant may take a person’s credit card to process their bill and then make a copy of the card. A store clerk can copy a credit/ debit card number from the carbon that the store keeps from a person’s receipt. Also, skimming can occur when a criminal attaches a small skimmer device to an ATM machine and when the individual slides their card through, it records the magnetic stripe details.

The internet has become an appealing place for criminals to obtain personal data. The novelty of the internet encourages people to explore. They often respond to unsolicited emails that promise them something but require personal data from the person to process the request. In most cases, there is no intention of giving out anything. Today, half of all credit card fraud is conducted on-line. (Department of Justice, 2013)

“Phishing” is yet another method to obtain someone else’s personal data. Phishing is the act of emailing a person and stating there is a problem with their account, then requesting personal information so the problem can be corrected. A new phishing scam that banks must face, which is hard to identify, is when a bank customer opens an email or even deletes the email without clicking on any embedded links, there is an program attached to the email by the criminal who silently runs a script. When the banking customer logs onto there bank website the code redirects the person to a fraudulent web site. (Federal Trade Commission, Ramsaran)

“Pretexting” is the act of calling a victim on the phone and stating they have a problem with their account and they need to verify information to fix the problem. (Federal Trade Commission)

“Spoofing” is when an individual receives fake email messages from a recognizable company requesting an update on their information. The website is hyper-linked and when accessed the criminal is able to obtain the individuals logon and password. (Urrico)

“Pharming” is a technique criminals use by setting up a phony web server and intercepting user names and PIN numbers. (Urrico)

Perpetrators can also obtain personal information by bribing employees who have access to personal records, stealing records while on the job, conning information out of employees, hacking personal records, stealing your wallet or purse, or stealing from your home. (Collins, Federal Trade Commission)

Criminals can also pose as a legitimate business and buy personal information from companies that collect personal data to be sold for verification purposes such as a background check on a potential employee. (Data Security)

When criminals use the skimming technique that copies the magnetic stripe of a credit card, they can sell the stripe on the black market and from there the stripe can be cloned to make several cards. (Credit Card)

Criminals can use credit cards or debit cards to go on shopping sprees. They will often buy large, expensive items such as computers, TVs, and stereos that are easily sold.

Criminals can open new credit card accounts or loans in the victim’s name and when the bills are not paid, the delinquent accounts are reported on the victim’s credit report.

Criminals can open wireless services or establish a phone in the victim’s name.

Criminals can open bank accounts and write bad checks or authorize electronic transfers and drain the victim’s bank account.

Criminals may buy a car in your name or file for bankruptcy for debt they have incurred using your personal information.· Criminals can avoid law enforcement by using a victim’s name during an arrest. When the victim does not show up to court, because they were unaware, there is a warrant issued in the victim’s name.

Criminals can fraudulently use calling cards. (Hamilton)

Criminals can submit a change of address form redirecting mail to the perpetrators address so victims do not know there is a problem until it is too late.

Criminals can establish false identities by obtaining a driver’s license with their picture and the victim’s information.

Criminals can get a job or file for fraudulent tax returns. (Federal Trade Commission)

Credit monitoring and identity theft protection is one way to help keep track of your credit and avoid serious damage in the event of identity theft.

5 Types of Identity Theft

By now, every adult should know that identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. It has become an epidemic, leaving everyone at risk, including children, adults, the elderly, those with good credit, bad credit, or no credit. And, to make matters worse, most people do not know if their identity has been stolen.

The biggest misconception is that identity theft only affects or involves your credit. If you, too, believe that identity theft only affects or involves your credit, then you might want to keep reading.

In addition to credit related identity theft, there are at least four other categories of identity theft that will not necessarily affect your credit, but can ruin your life. The following are real life stories.

1. Character identity theft. Someone impersonates you and commits a crime in your name resulting in warrants issued in your name, arrests made, and time spent in jail.

Donna has been impersonated by her sister for many years. Unfortunately for Donna, her sister has an extensive criminal record. In order to clear her name, Donna has had to hire an attorney. She has been told that once your name is associated with a crime, it can never come off.

Someone with a criminal record stole Harry’s wallet. Unbeknownst to Harry, the thief then committed several crimes in Harry’s name. Unfortunately, this criminal activity was entered into the database of a background check company that provides data to potential employers. Harry lost his job and has been unable to find work because of the false information.

Three years ago, Jane’s purse was stolen by someone she knew. The identity thief bought a car with Jane’s ID and committed other crimes in Jane’s name (writing bad checks and burglary). No one in law enforcement believes Jane when she says she is not the criminal, not even the District Attorney who is charging her with the crimes.

John, a man from San Diego, traveled to Mexico to visit his relatives. On his way back home, he was stopped and told that there was an arrest warrant issued in his name. Apparently, someone had been committing crimes in his name and using his Social Security number. John was arrested and taken to San Francisco where he spent 10 days in jail. After finally convincing a police office that he was not the criminal, John was released and left stranded without any money.

2. Social Security Number (SSN) identity theft. Someone steals your SSN and obtains employment in your name. The thief’s employer reports wages earned to the IRS under your SSN leaving you to pay income taxes on these earnings. Further, an identity thief’s use of your SSN can cause you to lose life sustaining benefits.

Paul received a letter from the IRS stating that he had earned additional income in 2003. Paul never earned this additional income. An identity thief used Paul’s SSN and earned wages in Paul’s name. Now Paul’s credit is ruined, and the IRS wants to be paid.

Alex lost his wallet, and he never bothered to report it to the police. In 2005, he filed his tax return and expected a refund. Instead, he received nothing. The IRS withheld his refund check to pay off back taxes he owed from 2002. Apparently in 2002, someone had used Alex’s SSN to earn wages in Alex’s name. This “unreported income” left Alex with a $9000 tax bill.

Someone has been using Mary’s SSN to earn wages. Mary, who had been receiving AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) benefits, lost her benefits because income records show her as having a salary.

Jack applied for unemployment benefits, but he was denied because records showed that he was actually working. Apparently, someone in another city had been using his SSN to earn wages in his name. Jack was told that he had to prove that his identity had been stolen.

3. Medical identity theft. Someone steals your identity and either obtains medical insurance in your name or uses your current medical insurance policy to obtain treatment or prescriptions. You can be denied health coverage or lose your current health coverage because of false information placed in your medical record.

An identity thief received treatment for an injury to his hand using a stolen identity. Now, the identity theft victim has been receiving letters demanding payment for drugs and services rendered to the thief.

4. Driver’s license identity theft. Someone commits traffic related offenses in your name. When the identity thief fails to appear in court, warrants are issued in your name.

In 2003, Alex’s driver’s license was revoked because he had another driver’s license in another state revoked due to criminal charges. In addition, Alex had warrants out for his arrest in the other state. After about a year of working to clear his name, Alex’s driver’s license was reinstated.

An identity thief with a poor driving record obtained a copy of Sara’s driver’s license. Now, because of the identity thief’s poor driving record, Sara’s license has been suspended, and she is in danger of losing her auto insurance.

5. Credit identity theft. Someone uses your information to obtain loans, goods, or services and does not pay the bills. The accumulating unpaid bills end up going to collection, which can affect your credit.

For over six years, Kate has been a victim of identity theft. Even a fraud alert placed on her credit report has not stopped the identity thief. As a result, Kate can not purchase a home because of bad credit.

An identity thief wrote bad checks and opened several credit card accounts in Erica’s name. Consequently, Erica’s application to open her own bank account was denied. Erica has had to hire an attorney to clear her name. This has cost her over $4,500.

So, you can see that once an identity thief has your identity, he/she can do just about anything including ruining your life. Don’t think you are immune. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there have been at least 111 disclosed incidents of data breaches since January 2005 that could potentially expose 53 million individuals to identity theft. This number is steadily increasing. Further, according to the FTC, over 27,000 people per day have their identities stolen in America.

Your information is not safe. As long as others (employers, credit card companies, medical facilities, etc.) have your private information, you are always at risk for identity theft. All it takes is for an employer to lose your information or give it away or one person/employee to steal the information. A cellular phone company experienced just that when employees used customer data to create fraudulent accounts. The bogus accounts were used by the thieves and their friends to ring up thousands of dollars in calls.

When it comes to protecting your identity, being proactive is the only practical way to go to avoid the frustration, time, and expense of restoring your identity and name. Some things you can do to prevent identity theft include not giving out your personal information, shredding unwanted mail, and not carrying your SSN card with you. Also, continuous credit report monitoring is an easy, effective and often inexpensive way of keeping an eye on your credit at all times to help prevent credit related identity theft.

Credit Fraud Protection & Prevention

fake-credit-cardsThe world is full of thieves and criminals. They are constantly scheming up new scams to strip you of your identity, your money and your life. Today, the risk of having your identity stolen is higher than ever. Threats of credit fraud and identity theft are on the rise worldwide. These threats occur more frequently than many of us realize. Therefore, we must understand where these threats are coming from and learn how to protect ourselves. We have to be even more cautious, because these thieves lurk in dark places in all corners of the world. They are difficult to find and prosecute because they are not necessarily subjected to United States law and jurisdiction.

For this reason, the scope of these threats to your credit is even more serious and we must be even more alert. While most of those who understand the dangers of identity theft know a few facts about how devastating it can be, there are many more details that are growing increasingly more important as the digital revolution marches on. This is why credit monitoring services by Lifelock & IdentityGuard have proved to be so popular with many consumers. Their online learning centers are able to update the knowledge of those who want to be able to improve their understanding of not just identity theft, but how their credit rating affects their ability to function at the financial level in today’s world.

Understanding the need for proper and constant monitoring of your credit report is the first step, but what really counts is actually doing something about it. For this, you have to be sure that the moment you receive an alert you take immediate action by contacting the reporting agency to find out what the next steps are. Since signing up with Ovation Law is free and there are discounts for married couples, this can be a great start for many people who want to make sure that they are safe from thieves.

Even shredding your documents prior to throwing them away can’t stop those who use digital means to sabotage your credit. Avoiding transactions over the web also only goes so far. The real power is in using the companies online to keep track of what is going on with your identity both on and offline. If the thieves have their advantages then you need to have an equal or even stronger defense simply to act as a deterrent to those who seek to damage your ability to conduct business each day.

Unfortunately, it is not only adults who face identity theft any more. It is also children who have not even had a chance to take any credit out. According to Federal law enforcement sources, the fastest growing segment of identity theft in today’s criminal economy is preying on minors. Since kids are not using credit their parents rarely think to watch over their credit rating or protect their personal data. There are now teens who hit the age of adulthood and learn that their credit has been ruined years ago thanks to thieves who applied for credit cards, mobile phones and a huge range of other credit based services. When these people get a hold of an under-aged person’s private information they can do whatever they please with precious little fear over the consequences until it is far too late for law enforcement to track them down. As a result, monitoring your child’s identity is now more important than ever.

Guarding Against Online Identity Theft By Using a Router

Image result for internet routerMany computer users today are connected to the Internet via an always on connection; many of those users leave their computers on 24/7. Doing so allows automatic downloading and updating of operating systems and other software you may be running. This has proved to be a good strategy for staying up to date on virus and security programs. There is however the issue of hackers or others gaining access to your personal information.

Fortunately there is a relatively inexpensive piece of hardware called a router that, when set up correctly, will make your computer virtually invisible. Routers are typically used to set up and control networks. These can be very large or very small networks, in fact the Internet is really just a very large network and it too is controlled by routers.

The router in a typical network is placed between the cable or phone modem and the computers and other devices being controlled. Information from online flows to the router and is then routed to the appropriate computer, it also takes information from the various computers and sends it out to the online world. In addition the router will control the flow of information within the network, such as a document to be printed on a printer that is hooked up to another computer, or possibly to retrieve a document scanned on a network scanner.

These routers can either be hardwired or wireless or of combination of both. The router itself has its own IP address (kind of like a street address) that will be found on the Internet which identifies it. If that router has all of the correct security set up, that is where the flow of information from the Internet stops, the router actually appears to someone surfing the Internet to be a computer and the end of the line. Even a single computer can have a router between the modem and the computer, in fact it would be set up the same way, and with all of the proper security in place it would appear to be the end of the line.

Installing a router right out of the box with no security set up will stymie the most amateur hackers, setting proper user codes and passwords will stop more, using the proper encryption array will stop more, and there are more settings that will stop even the most determined. All of these setting can be made in the software supplied with your router, what may be lacking it a clear explanation of why some settings and how they are defined is important.

Early in the development of the Internet becoming available to the general public, the need for security protocols was becoming apparent. In addition to the general public, retail and government entities were keeping more and more information in data bases, and they needed security. The first online security protocol was named WEP and went into wide usage, unfortunately it was hacked, and the info on how to hack it was spread all over the internet. That protocol is still in use today, even by some retail and government entities, and can by hacked in less than a minute. The next version call WAP was rolled out, but first it was released to the online community with the challenge to “break it, if you can”, that was about 8 – 10 years ago. To date is has not been broken. Most router software allows you to choose which encryption array to use. This exemplifies the importance of knowing how to set you security up.

For an excellent video covering all aspects of router security go to this link http://www.labrats.tv click shows, look for # 70.Windows Lockdown!: Your XP and Vista Guide Against Hacks, Attacks, and Other Internet Mayhem (Absolute Beginner’s Guide)

What Does Identity Theft Insurance Cost

With identity theft on the rise, it is important that the general public be aware which companies are the best at providing identity theft insurance as well as the kinds of costs they can expect to face if they decide to buy. Facts on identity theft show that there is a new victim every 70 or so seconds.

Even before you think of specific companies that you can buy identity theft insurance from, you need to know what services these companies offer.

This means that we should all be aware of how to protect ourselves, and one of the ways you can do that is to buy identity theft insurance.

Primarily of course is insurance against ID theft. Should you suffer any identity theft, they are able to reimburse the amount that you have lost. They also do fraud monitoring and fraud alerts so that they can minimize the chances of you being a victim and they will let you know if there is any unusual activity on your credit card and they will warn you right away so that you can investigate.

In addition to that, they offer support in the event that you are victim by filing the necessary documents with the credit bureaus so that they can make the necessary adjustments on your credit report. You should also look at the kind of information that they protect; while the basic ones will protect your personal details and the details on your credit card, there are some who do a lot more. They protect information such as public records, insurance records and even records of arrest and imprisonment.Who are some of the biggest companies offering identity theft insurance?

LifeLock

They are impressive; for just $9 a month or $99 a year, they guarantee you up to $1,000,000 should your credit card breached and they fail to detect in time to take the correct action. They offer a range of services. One of them is the LifeLock Identity Alert which monitors whether your personal information is being used to apply for new credit, be it credit cards, loans, mortgages, car loans and any other forms of credit that you can apply for. They will alert you by email or text and sometimes by telephone and you can confirm to them whether you are the one doing the transaction and therefore whether they should stop it.

They distinguish themselves by offering identity theft protection for children for just $22 a year. They require that there is at least one adult in the house to sign up. You can see their additional services on their website.

Trusted ID

TrustedID is also big and impressive. They have ID Freeze which is what they use to make sure that no one is using your credit card details fraudulently. They force banks to call and confirm with them before they issue credit cards or open bank accounts. They are also able to go after the scammers. They are ready to pay you up to $1,000,000 if you suffer ID theft and they don’t detect it in time to stop it.

Debix

They use technology to make sure that no one can use your credit card illegally by impersonating you. Whenever someone applies for credit with your credit card, they are notified, after which they call your Debix number. The number dials your number and then you are supposed to answer with the correct pin and the system must recognize your voice. They provide identity theft insurance to the tune of $10,000.

How do their services compare?

Although they use different methods, they all help you do the same thing to prevent fraudulent use of your credit card and alert you immediately it occurs.

Identity theft insurance is just as necessary to everyday life as auto insurance nowadays.

If you look on LifeLock’s website, you will find that they have a long list of the services they offer. Trusted ID are also fairly spread out in terms of services offered; Debix, which works very closely with national security agencies like the FBI don’t have such a wide range of services but they are very thorough in their systems.Who is the best provider based on price?

Price is never a good way to decide on a service but it is important to compare how these companies differ in price. LifeLock goes for about $99 a year. Trusted ID offers its services for around $99 a year. Debix currently charges you $89 a year, but their service range is rather limited.

The best way to decide when it comes to price is to choose the cheapest one which has everything that you need to keep your identity safe. This means that you must think through your requirements and then choose. Going for what is cheapest might land you with an identity theft insurance service that cannot meet all your security needs.

It works the same way for the most expensive. The fact that something costs a lot of money has nothing to do with its quality or how effective it is.

Who is the best provider?

Again, so long as you are choosing among these 3 here, you will get excellent service with each of them so you have to look at which one fulfills your credit needs. You should further. There are websites that show the top identity theft insurance companies for 2012. These 3 are included, but there are more. Look at the identity theft insurance /credit monitoring companies that they offer so that you can pick the one that takes care of you best.

Identity Theft Statistics – What Are The Possible Legal Concerns?

Identity theft statistics show that the crime is on the rise. In 2012, there were 385,000 new cases, while in 2013, the number is expected to be 500,000. With such a leap in growth and so many of us doing our transactions online, it is only prudent to arm ourselves with information. One of the things we ought to explore is how identity theft affects us, financially and emotionally.

Identity theft statistics show that most consumers still believe it will never happen to them.

Although many people who have not been victims find it hard to connect it with disturbing effects, victims describe the experience as one that takes them a long time to come to terms with.

Statistics also show that the average victim loses about $8,000 by the time they are able to detect the fraud and stop it. The industry itself is estimated at 5 billion. This is a staggering figure especially if you consider that it is ongoing and growing.

Not all victims of identity theft lose money, but most do. Once the scammer has credit card details, they can do any kind of transaction that they want. To stay under the radar, they make small purchases be – larger purchases might mean that they go past the limit and this would raise alarm. This means that they can buy numerous small items for a long time and you would never know.

The average time that it takes to straighten out the mess is on average 175 hours over a period of two years. The problem is that usually, the police are unwilling to co-operate. In some states, the police won’t even allow you to record a statement about the identity theft – they don’t consider it a crime as they do more physical crimes.

The problem is compounded by the fact that the credit issuer may be unwilling to co-operate. Identity theft statistics show that very few of them even report the matter to the police. From their point of view, the theft has already happened, they have lost money and there is not much they can do. For them, the way to deal with it is to make their systems scammer-proof.

That leaves you alone to deal with the financial loss. If you don’t have identity theft insurance, you can be looking at serious losses that can as well affect your credit report. Just covering the hole that has been created takes time. If they amounts concerned add up to something significant, it could affect your credit report which brings us to the next problem.

When you have been a victim and you approach the credit bureaus so that they can remove the false negative items on your credit report, they are not always very co-operative. It is hard enough to get them to fix the errors that they made; an error like this, if you don’t have the right documentation to support it, can take months.

That is why it is recommended that immediately you detect a breach, you start a log that records which creditors you called, who you spoke to and also who you spoke to when you called the credit report bureau. They will also want to see a signed police statement showing that you reported the crime. That means that you have to take time out to get this document.

Identity theft statistics also show that people report emotional scarring, and many say that it is the level of exposure that gives them the stress. Knowing that someone is out there impersonating you is not easy to deal with.

Most consumers don’t know how easy it is for scammers to impersonate them.

In addition to that, because they have your credit card details, you don’t know when they will strike next. That is why you are advised to close the account and cancel the card immediately.

Many victims say that they did this, but they still felt very vulnerable because they didn’t know what other information the scammer may have and how they can use it against you. Some of them report that they feel very emotional for a period, like they want to burst into tears all the time.Identity theft statistics: What are some of the solutions victims can employ to recover from identity theft?

The way to protect yourself against identity theft is to be cautious and to have identity theft insurance. Being cautious involves you not leaving your personal details lying around where other people can find them.

You must also dispose of personal documents by shredding them. Scammers dig through dustbins to find personal information. Identity theft statistics show that a large number of victims, when they think back, can usually remember throwing out personal information with the trash.

Change your passwords and your pins at least once every 3 months and don’t make them easy to crack; don’t use number sequences that are easy to come up with and don’t use passwords that are the name of your pet or your child.Identity theft statistics: Is identity theft insurance worth it for victims of ID theft?

Having the best credit monitoring service in place can help protect you in case the theft does occur. Identity theft statistics show that this is really the highest level of protection you have against identity theft, and it is worth the monthly premiums that you pay if you find a good plan.  If you think this is something that would benefit you, try looking into a company like IdentityGuard.com for help.

Avoid Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft

identity-theft1We’ve all heard plenty of stories about identity theft by now. We’ve all heard the accounts of experiences of unauthorized usage of their credit cards, bank accounts and other services which involve money. At least 5 out of 100 people have or will experience this kind of unwanted fraudulent activity.

Thieves will never be after your identity if they will not get any benefit from it. They need your name, birth date, address, etc., to get into your financial accounts. One must bear in mind that these personal identification facts are necessary to open a new account as well. But thieves will do whatever they can just to steal your identity and your money.

Your protection depends on you. With this kind of crime, no one can help you initially except yourself. The prevention and protection from identity thieves depends on how wise you are in handling all important information about yourself.

Here are some things one must take into consideration in order to protect oneself from identity theft:

1)  One must keep a photocopy of all credit cards, bank account numbers and other important information in a safe place. In short, one must make a back-up record of all his  or her personal information and personal numbers. Making back-up copies will help you trace and cancel your stolen or lost cards quickly. One must also not forget that even a simple identification card or a driver’s license is very important and can also be a source of information that can be stolen.

2)  Dispose of your credit card receipts properly. Do not throw your receipts anywhere or it could be taken by thieves. Receipts contain information about yourself and your account, although nowadays only the last four numbers should print. This information may help thieves to steal your identity. Shredding your bills and receipts may not be practical at all. When a bill is shredded in strips, sometimes those strips can be retrieved and pasted back together. The best way to totally destroy your bills is by burning them. There is no way one can retrieve information from ashes. It must be said though that sometimes burning your papers is not doable. If you use a shredder, use a cross-cut shredder. There’ll be no putting that back together.

3)  Keep in touch with your credit institution. If you apply for a credit card and it does not arrive immediately, contact your credit institution and relay the problem. By doing so, you can prevent any fraudulent activity that may happen as a result.

4)  Create a good combination of numbers for your PIN or passwords. Make sure that you choose a difficult-to-guess PIN. Birth dates, mother’s maiden name, pet’s name, usual or famous number combinations, etc., should not be used for your PIN or passwords.

5)  Regard all information as personal. Do not give your personal information to anyone who sends you an email or a snail mail. Never give personal information over the phone.

6)  Observe the area surrounding the ATM before using it. Make sure that no one is around watching you while you make your transaction with the ATM. Make sure that there is no unusual equipment illegally attached to the ATM. There had been reports about electronic devices illegally attached to the card slot in the ATM. It has cameras on it which can record your PIN as you type it in. Another trick is a simple piece of paper. Make sure there is no paper sticking out of the slot and look inside for any as well. What happens is that you can put your card in and not get it back out. Then the thief comes back, tweezers the paper out, along with YOUR CARD! This is also a good reason to come up with a difficult PIN. Once a thief gets your name, they can look up your address, birthday, Facebook page (do you have pictures of your pet posted?), etc., to guess your PIN.

7)  Bills must be checked every month. All entries on the bill must be yours. If there are charges included in the bill which do not look familiar, immediately report it to your credit institution and ask for an investigation. If you’re sure, demand it be removed.

8)  Active and cancelled checks must be stored properly. There are banks that offer service like this.

9)  Keep all important documents in your car properly. Do not put any thing which may contain information about you in sight inside your car. You may use the glove box as safety keep for your important things. Never leave it unlocked (the glove compartment or the car).

10)  Secure all your personal information in your mobile phone and laptop with a password. Remember that laptops and mobile phones are personal gadgets that are to be used solely by you. So keep it personal. And make it hard to retrieve if the device is stolen. Remember, devise a smart password!

One must take responsibility for his belongings, personal properties and identity to totally prevent these illegal activities. The value of your identity is equivalent to the value of your life.  Credit monitoring can help you avoid the damaging effects of identity theft, by giving you early notice that there’s been fraud committed with your personal information.

LifeLock Credit Monitoring Review

lifelocklogoThe news has been filled with a very scary 2 word phrase in recent years that most Americans really are not quite certain of: IDENTITY THEFT. While most people conceive this to be a drug addict pilfering through their garbage can and looking for their personal papers with their Social Security number, date of birth, home address and phone number, this is really not the case as likely as it might sound to some. The real reality behind identity theft is quite a bit more frightening because there are much more powerful forces at work in this game which is designed to take massive amounts of data from innocent people and then launder it to create a network of crime specialists around the world who are constantly at work moving money and information in what has been called the web’s global black market.

As much as that may sound like the plot to a major motion picture, the sad reality is that this is precisely how things are these days. As a result, credit monitoring companies like Lifelock and IdentityGuard.com have been able to attract so much interest for their products and services, even creating raving fans who have been victims of identity fraud and then been able to get some level of recovery that the company has aided them with when they otherwise would have been confused, in the dark and had no clue what they needed to do to be able to get not only their credit fixed, but the very information that identifies them to law enforcement, the federal government and a huge range of other massively important organizations that we all have to work with these days. Without some sort of protection or recourse, most of us would be at the mercy of criminals that have taken to the web in efforts to try and bring themselves out of extreme poverty in countries where conditions are very harsh and crime seems to be the only real way that they can ever hope to have enough money to life a decent life.

All of these factors have come together to create the perfect storm, so to speak, for a company like Lifelock to emerge in 2005. Once they got their product off the ground, the put a great deal of effort into advertising their offer, going so far as to show their own chief executive, Todd Davis, speaking on camera while a large truck with his Social Security number painted on the side, drove through a public street. This created quite an uproar since privacy concerns were so incredibly high in those days – and they remain high today. By proving that he is not worried about his information being stolen, Mr. Davis proved to a huge number of people that there is protection they can find and this is what brought Lifelock the 3 million customers that it enjoys today. With such a powerful message of protection and a promise to spend up to $1 million to protect each customer should they be the victim of a serious identity theft case, the Lifelock brand has literally locked its place into the hearts and minds of many Americans who regularly rely on these services to protect their very valuable personal data and keep them on alert for any signs of fraud.

The Lifelock fraud alert service was created by a team of specialists with cutting edge technological solutions. This innovative solution has been
the gold standard in identity theft prevention. It was originally engineered to protect consumers, but the service has greatly expanded beyond these initial roots and it now goes integrates a huge number of different services that are not always offered by its competitors. Those companies all entered the market after it did and are still working hard to establish themselves as a viable alternative to the comprehensive care that Lifelock offers. This may be why there are a good amount of detractors on the web for this company. One needs to keep in mind that even the most open minded and truth oriented journalist is going to experience personal bias and the same goes for reviewers. Many claim that cheaper services exist and this is true, there are cheaper alternatives than the starting $9 per month that Lifelock offers, but there are also more expensive options if one is being fair about the reality. The fact is, Lifelock has done a lot to create these services and has now moved onto even more powerful alternatives that the average person can have working to protect themselves such as a reduction in credit card offers, monitoring of wire transfers for your personal information and a variety of other services.

There are also Lifelock services for businesses which is another area that the company has helped to pioneer, in addition to the concept of Walletlock which offers a protection for those who have lost their wallet containing their crucial ID such as a driver’s license and Social Security card. If these are lost or stolen, Walletlock goes into effect to help the consumer be able to try and recover what they can’t locate themselves and then, if all else fails, get replacements made and get back to their life in the way they want to live it. They offer their notification services by phone, email or by postal mail which suits a broader range of different types of contact that can work for people who are very web savvy right down to the senior citizen who might not regularly check their email or even hear the phone. This range of service and customer centered approach has garnered many positive reviews across the web today.

In the end, everyone has to make up their own mind, but if the reviews that are prevalent across the web right now are any indication – and they almost always are given how free people are to speak their minds online – then the vast majority of those customers with Lifelock who are speaking out find that the $15 Lifelock Command Center has been a huge help to them.

Identity Theft Scam Method: Making Work Pay Refund

downloadI don’t know of anyone who loves to pay taxes. In fact, I would classify this with getting a root canal; however there is something that is much worse, and that is being scammed by the new Making Work Pay refund scam, and you must know of it to keep from being a victim.

Most scams we have received are those that come by the Nigerian scam artists but now we are seeing fake IRS mails. These guys have a lot of guts and the problem is that many people are falling for these scams. These new IRS scams are all over the place and they can really scare people into parting with their hard earned cash.

Just know a few simple facts and you won’t fall for these scams either. First and foremost, the IRS does not have your email address. They don’t know it and have no intention of finding out just so they can send you an email. They would much rather send you a registered letter or use the phone. This one rule means that any email that supposedly comes from the IRS is a scam. You can also call the IRS and confirm that they sent it to you.

There are actually a few IRS scams but one of the most effective is the Making Work Pay Scam. This is fashioned after the stimulus package. Fortunately, the real package appears in your paycheck and is deducted from your with holdings. However, in the scam you receive an email that tells you that you are owed a refund. You are then required to send in your name, social security number and give your bank account information.

This in effect, lets the scam artist take over your entire identity. He can access your bank account, create new credit accounts, make new credit cards up and put you into debt quickly. However this isn’t the worst part of the scam. Having someone steal your identity and your financial records can create long lasting problems. It can create long lasting debt, financial loss, problems with the IRS and someone could even perform criminal acts in your name.

In conclusion, just don’t pay attention to scam emails no mater how good they sound. Remember, your mothers saying: “If it sounds too good to be true it usually is.” This holds especially true with anything we receive over the Web.

If in doubt about anything you might receive from the IRS go to www.IRS.gov and look at the real forms, and revise any scams that may be out. Please report any scam you may receive to the authorities and don’t assume they already know about it.  Get protected today with a credit protection plan from IdentityGuard.  Free for 30 days.