Americans are today facing a ferocious attack on both their financial and personal privacy. Protecting your private financial data with totally no risk might be impossible nowadays. But it is vital to understand how easy it is for your privacy to be compromised and the penalties of such a breach – and take a couple of simple steps to, if nothing else, just to better the odds in your favor. Get to know how you can protect your identity in a world of mail thieves, shoulder surfers and dumpster divers.
When I try putting a list of common financial trepidations – The 13 Wealth Issues – right in front of my customers and ask what exactly is top of mind for them, ID theft is often the number one pressing concern.
Normally, that fear is not undeserved – identity thieves can without a doubt do serious damage when they get an opportunity to access your SSN (social security number), address, full name and other sensitive financial data.
Fatefully, I have learnt from experience. My personal data was compromised a couple of years ago, and it certainly scared the heck out of me.
Here is exactly what happened: A credit card, -one that I never even applied for- surprisingly showed up in my mailbox. I had never set foot in that specific store, since there was none one in my locality. Obviously someone had illegally used my name to apply for “instant credit” at that particular store.
Well, that card in my mailbox was only the beginning.
When many more “Congratulations for creating a new credit card account” letters started showing up in my letterbox, it sent quakes of fear down my spine. I immediately filed a police report and, after roughly 18 hours of work, I proved that indeed it was a fraudster who walked into 12 different stores, opened instant credit, and made various purchases.
I admittedly confess it was an eerie feeling knowing that someone somewhere had a falsified driver’s license with their photo and my personal details such as my name on it.
However, there are certain precautions you as an individual can take to prevent your ID from being stolen, and if anyone does access your personal accounts, there are particular ways to catch it speedily and jump into action
- Regularly monitor your credit report – Every individual gets a free credit statement annually. Grab this opportunity! Ensure that you obtain and thoroughly review your credit statement (free of charge at Annualcreditreport.com or even by simply calling 877-322-8228) at annually to look for any suspicious activity. BUT for those who don’t wish to wait for one credit report annually, Credit Sesame suits them best! Credit Sesame is undeniably awesome for persons who are unwilling to give up their credit card data just to get ID theft protection. The service is absolutely free, which you will agree with me that it is indeed very rare in the world of identity theft. Credit Sesame basically updates your credit score on monthly basis! So that you can clearly see how your credit score is changing, and above all, it also monitors your credit report for any chary activity. Actually there are paid identity theft companies, such as Identity Guard, which is probably one of the top companies. These paid companies offers much more advanced protection. We will explain exactly what they do and what not and how to pick up the best for you. So read on, this article.
- Keenly Review your credit card Reports – Ensure that you recognize the merchants, and even purchases listed right before settling the bill. It is advisable to limit your credit cards to as few as possible and always keep a list of the cards you have, the customer service number and your card numbers for each and every credit card company somewhere safe so that you can speedily and easily close all your accounts in case you lose your cards. That is the main reason people pay for credit monitoring. We’ve already gave you a company that monitor your credit for free – Credit Sesame. But again, for those who need more advanced protection, there are other paid options, which will be explained below.
- Ensure that all mails are secure – Speedily empty your letterbox of incoming mail and never use it for outgoing mail. In case you are not in a position to quickly pick up your incoming mail or maybe you are not home when the mails are being delivered, it would be wise to consider getting a Post Office box so that thieves don’t get a chance to snatch credit card pitches. Additionally, do not mail outgoing payments, bills and even checks right from home. They can easily be stolen from your letterbox and the recipient’s name erased with solvents. Make a habit of mailing them from the post office or any other secure location such as a USPS drop box.
- Safeguard your Social Security number – The primary target for most identity thieves is the social security number (SSN) because it gives them easy access to your bank accounts and credit statement. Do not always carry your SS card with you, or any other relevant card that may contain your number. If in any case your health insurance card number is also your social security number (SSN), contact the company and request them to give you a totally different number which is not tied to anything. In addition, never put your number on your checks.
- Ensure that you don’t leave a paper trail – Never leave your receipts behind, especially those of your credit card and ATM transactions.
- Do not let your credit card out of your sight – Are you concerned about credit card skimming? Well, you have to always keep an eye on your card and, if that is not possible, pay with cash.
- Know exactly who you are dealing with – Scammers mostly call with a great prize or even offer so as to get you to give up your sensitive personal data. Do not ever give out your financial data or even private identity information unless you are certain of who you are talking to.
- Make sure that you get on the DO NOT CALL list – Besides the Do-Not-Call registry which is normally 1-888-382-1222, you can also decide to cut down on junk mail and also withdraw from credit card solicitations. Don’t forget that you have to re-register your numbers after every 5 years.
- Always destroy your private records and statements – Ensure that you shred all credit card reports, solicitations and any other documents which contain sensitive financial data. Cross-cut shredding is perfect because thieves cannot tape the strips back together.
Identity protection – do they work?
Do ID protection service actually work? So how effective are their monitoring services? Can they accurately protect consumers? Well, the answer varies. ID theft protection is intended to protect you from any new line of credit that are being opened using your name – alongside the restoration element, it is strictly designed to clean up the mess.
It is safe to say I’m a specialist when it comes to matters of identity theft protection. But honestly, sometimes I really get confused by what various companies offer for ID theft protection. In some cases there marketing copy is really confusing and misleading. I admittedly confess that there has always been a lack of openness when it comes to ID theft protection. From a personal perspective, I find Identity Guard very efficient and affordable. With Identity guard, you have the ability to protect even your child, and guess what! It only goes for $14 a month. Identity Guard will definitely monitor all your financial information, including social security number and all your other financial accounts. But the icing on the cake comes when you get to receive a 30-day free trial, so that you can try out the service before subscribing. Do you want to understand why this is probably the best companies? Spend several minutes and read our full Identity Guard Review. It will help you understand is this company for you.
ID protection should be transparent. If anyone is spending 10 or even more bucks monthly, then they want to know exactly what they are getting.
- Monitoring of credit bureaus – Constant monitoring may consist of one to three major credit bureaus. So, whenever a credit check is made, you are alerted.
- Monitoring Social Security numbers through credit applications – particular service services such as Lifelock have a technology in place with the three major creditors and phone companies, where it looks for your social security number and immediately alerts you when it is in use by any individual, including you. Now you probably will ask why I talk for Lifelock and Identity guard. And you probably are confused which is these is better. Let me explain. Both are the best, I would say these are the leaders in identity theft protection. They just have different plans, and feautires of protection. So if you want you can read this article – Lifelock vs Identity Guard. I and my team picked the most important feautires of these companies.
- Medical identity theft protection – Particular companies normally claim that they will help protect you from medical ID theft. Well, to say the truth, I’m not sure how they will do that, but perhaps they have affiliations with the Medical Information Bureau.
- Recovery – If you read the fine print, it clearly states that the company will only assist you convalesce from ID theft when the service’s product fails to offer the kind of protection you bought. Nevertheless, most protection services will walk you by the hand or maybe just point you in a direction to solve your problems. They never leave you stuck or stranded.
- Lost wallet protection – This kind of service, able an individual to easily register your credit cards with the service so, in any case you lose your wallet, a single call to the service will shut all of them down and almost immediately record new cards. Lifelock does this best!
- Credit card protection – ID theft protection can never protect your credit cards. Your local bank may provide a service that includes a kind of “zero liability” in case your card is compromised buy scammers.
- Service guarantee – A lot of companies offer a million-dollar service assurance or something similar. The main point of this assurance is to inform you that the service will spend up to that dollar amount just to fix your problem. In actuality, it should not take more than a couple of phone calls by an expert and possibly the services of a good lawyer to get rid of the ID theft.
And now, do you want to help other people prevent identity theft? Please share this article, if you found it useful!!!