Do you know anyone who has experienced identify theft? If you answered “no”, eventually you will meet someone who knows someone who has. It’s a growing problem, and the trail of frustration it leaves in its wake is not a pleasurable one. If it ever happens to you or someone you love, and if you are not prepared for it. It is a living nightmare that will haunt you for many years to come. So how does one prepare for a life changing event like this?First, you must understand what identify theft is and that it is a very lucrative business. Second, you must know how individuals acquire your information, and how they will use that information to ruin your life. Third, you must learn how to protect yourself and loved ones, and take action to help to prevent it from happening to you.Identify theft occurs when some uses your own personal information to impersonate you. Many people do not realize that your information can be purchased off the Internet. Individuals use the Internet to conduct illegal businesses every day. It is very difficult to crack down on these people because the Internet is global. It would cost millions of dollars to investigate each and every company on the Internet to determine which businesses were not on the up and up. And for every site that is shut down, another site would spring up to take its place. Once your information has been obtained, it is sold and exchanged between criminals over the Internet, and there is no way of actually stopping it.HOW IDENTITY THEFT OCCURSSkilled identity thieves use various methods to gain access to your data. It does not matter how careful you are in protecting your information. It can be stolen! I know from firsthand experience, because it happened to me. For many years I shredded my documents and was careful when using the Internet. Eventually my information was stolen, not from my home, but from a bank where I acquired a loan.Here is a list of how identity thieves acquire your information:• From businesses or other institutions by: stealing records from their jobs, bribing employees to access your records, and hacking computer systems.• Steal your mail looking for bank and credit card statements, credit card offers, and tax information.• Rummage through your trash, businesses trash, and public trash dumps.• They may steal your wallet or purse.• They may complete a “change of address form” to divert your mail to another location.• The list can go on because there are so many ways to obtain your information.HOW YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION IS USED:• They use your information to change your credit card billing address.• Open new credit cards causing you to have delinquent account.• Open bank accounts in your name and write bad checks.• File for bankruptcy under your name.• Obtain a driver licenses with your name and their picture• They may give your name to the police during an arrest. If that person does not show up for his or her court date, a warrant for arrest is issued in your name.• They are many ways for these thieve to ruin your good name.HOW TO PROTECT YOUSELFTo protect yourself, you need to invest in an identity theft prevention and protection service. ID Guard is not an insurance plan, even though plans offer money to reimburse you against actual losses from identity theft. The purpose of the service is to protect you from becoming a victim in the first place. The benefits of an identity theft service could prevent you from experiencing what others have gone through with not being able to acquire credit, getting harassed by collection agencies, and spending thousands of dollars trying to repair their good name.Here are some service you can expect from identity prevention and protection services:Identity Monitoring How will you know if your identity is stolen? 71% of identity fraud occurs within 7 days of identity theft, yet over 50% of identity theft victims do not learn of the theft within 3 months of occurrence. Identity prevention services utilize state of the art technology and databases of billion of data elements in order to detect the fraud as early as possible for you.Identity InsuranceThe Federal Trade Commission indicated that approximately 10 million Americans were victims of identity theft last year. Identity theft insurance provides reimbursement to help restore a victim identity. You can receive up to $25,000 reimbursement for many of the expenses you may face while working to clear your name.Computer Protection With thousands of new viruses created every day, relying on traditional security updates is no longer acceptable. That’s why McAfee has added McAfee Active Protection technology to their Total Protection suite. Now you too can have this protection on your computer system.Identity RestorationRestoring your identity is estimated to take approximately 600 hours and cost thousands of dollars. You can have a trained expert to assist you with restoring your identity. Fraud alert notifications will be sent on your behalf and applicable follow up will be done with affected agencies. You are provided with a software system that will help you maintain control over the restoration processes should you become a victim of Identity Theft.You Can Not Live Without The ServiceIf you have a car, you know the importance of insurance. If you have a social security number, and do not have identity theft protection, it is like driving around with no insurance. Try fixing your car with no insurance after an accident, it will be a head ache and very costly. Now multiple that pain by ten times, now you are beginning to understand what victims of identity theft go through each day of their life. It takes a couple of minutes to apply, and you will be amazed how inexpensive this investment is for your peace of mind and identity security.
Identity theft is real and it affects both adults and children. There are five types of identity theft that typically threaten and damage individuals and families. So, how do you protect yourself from one of the fastest growing crimes in America? Identity protection begins with understanding each of the five types of identity theft threats and taking precautions to minimize your odds of becoming a victim. While identity fraud can encompass a vast range of crimes, the five most common types of identity theft are character or criminal, drivers license, financial or credit, medical and social security.Criminal Identity Theft, also know as character id theft, is when a person arrested or detained by a law enforcement officer for criminal activities uses your name and personal information as their own identity. This can affect your ability to obtain loans and the opportunity to get a good job.Drivers License Identity Theft occurs when someone is stopped for a traffic violation and uses your name and information for the legal report. Depending upon the traffic citation, your license could be suspended or revoked without you even knowing it.Credit Identity Theft, or financial id theft, is when thieves use your basic information such as your name, address, social security number, credit card numbers, bank information or any legal documents to destroy your credit and good name. This can occur as a result of credit card fraud, bank fraud, computer and telecommunication fraud, tax refund fraud and mail fraud, which can leave you with thousands of dollars of debt and a bad credit score in need of being restored.Medical Identity Theft is the alteration of your medical records and the act of someone using your personal information so that they can receive treatment. This may prevent you from receiving the medical treatment you need and leave you with hundreds of dollars worth of bills for treatments that you never received.Social Security Identity Theft is when a thief uses your social security number and name for employment, to make purchases, apply for loans, or to open new credit card accounts for fraudulent activities. Even though you never saw the money, wages reported using your identity are viewed as additional income. Inaccurate reporting of your earnings affects your taxes and future social security benefits.The most basic step to protect yourself from these types of identity theft is to keep your personal information safe and monitor how it is used. This includes keeping your personal information in a secure place and shredding your documents. Secure your personal documents and vital records in a locked drawer or cabinet, fireproof safe box, or security deposit box. Shred anything that contains your name and personal information, paper scraps, credit card bills, bank account statements, prescription drug container papers and any pre-approved credit card offers. Surprisingly, most id fraud is not done by strangers; the majority of it occurs through family members or friends. Keeping your sensitive information to yourself will help protect you.As the internet becomes a more vital part of our day to day life, this medium becomes a source used by thieves to obtain your identity. Use safeguards while browsing, submit personal information and credit card details only on secure websites, and protect yourself from hackers by using strong passwords composed of a combination of letters and numbers. Remove personal information and sensitive files from your hard drive before disposing of old computers.Obtain and review a copy of your driving record. If you lose your health insurance card, notify your health care provider right away and request to have them change your policy number. With the exception of your employer, who needs it to withhold your taxes, DO NOT give out your social security number to just anyone. In addition to these practices, you also need a comprehensive credit monitoring and id theft restoration plan. That way you will have the resources and services you need if you ever become a victim to any of these types of identity theft.