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If you’ve ever been a victim of identity theft you understand exactly why it is important to protect it. Many people don’t realize how vulnerable they are when making transactions over the internet as their information at any time can be compromised. When you’re identity is stolen, you are left with a lot of damage to repair and some of it can be very costly.
You might be asking yourself how such information breaches can happen to people all across the world. However, there are many ways in which this can occur, since most of us provide important personal information over the internet your information is then exposed for all to see. Hackers steal your information with the intent of using it for their own personal gain. Some will use it to get a job or a place to live, while others will use your information to make large ticket purchases and more.
If you’re going to protect yourself from ID theft you’re going to need to practice safe internet transactions as well as considering signing up for an ID theft protection service to keep your personal information safe. However, if you’ve done a search, you have probably noticed that there are several different programs that you can choose from, making it hard to know which one is going to work best in your favor. Below is a checklist of things you can use to find a program that will keep your identity safe.
You want to make sure that you choose a program that will work best for your budget. If you have a budget in mind that you are willing to pay for the monthly service, then you can narrow down your search in only choosing programs that are affordable to you.
You want to make sure that you choose a company that will protect you all around. There are five different types of identity theft and you want to find a company that protects you against them all: Social security, character/criminal, financial, medical, and even driver’s licenses.
Identity Restoration Services
you should only select a program that will help you on the off chance that you do become a victim of identity theft while using their services. You want to select a program that has insurance that will significantly reduce the amount of money you might have to spend to get your identity back in order.
By keeping these three key factors in mind, you are sure to find a program that will protect you and your family members from becoming a victim of a very costly crime. Be sure to check out the website and company to make sure that they are legitimate before providing such personal information.
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Identity crime and identity theft are the common terminologies used in reference to crimes where someone accesses and uses personal data for some form of deception, fraud, economic benefit or other malicious act. Social security numbers, credit card number and bank accounts are the primary targets for identity theft.
What do identity thieves do with stolen identities?
When an unauthorized person has information about a victim’s identity, he transfers money from the victim’s bank or takes over identities and commits crimes using the victim’s names and contacts. Some of the problems that are encountered by victims are loss of money, damage to reputation, and the lengthy recovery processes of personal and financial information.
Some of the modi operandi that thieves use are to work for medical offices, government agencies or businesses and steal information while on the job, or to use a legitimate business’s name to trick people to provide their personal and financial information or to even pretend to offer a loan, apartment or job to further entice people to be careless with their personal information.
Enforcement by law
In order to deal with identity theft problems, various local and state law enforcement agencies have passed Acts that have set guidelines for the prevention and investigation of possible cases of identity theft. For instance, the Identity Theft Assumption and Deterrence Act of 1998 has declared theft of identity a crime against any person whose personal information or identity is stolen.
The Act has broadened the scope of offenses so that stealing of documents and misuse of information is included and the person who commits a crime as defined under the Act can get up to 25 years in prison, depending on the severity of the offense. The law is being implemented in every state so that person who commits such crimes is given severe punishment, which acts as a deterrent to avoid the commission of such crimes in their state.
Important facts and figures about identity thefts
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for January-December 2011, there were about 1.8 million identity theft complaints from consumers for the year. In the report more than 15% was for identity threat, 27% was government document or benefits fraud, 14% credit card fraud, 13% utilities or phone fraud, 9% bank fraud, 8% employment fraud and 3% loan fraud.
Out of all identity theft complaints, 45% contacted law enforcement agencies; 70% reported to local police departments. Hence, with the passage of time, number of identity thefts should be declining and it is expected to reduce further by developing more technologically advanced security systems and awareness campaigns that will ensure personal information of people remains protected and secured.
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The cases of identity theft in the online world inevitably grow as people who operate on ugly schemes find various ways on how they can carry out their plans. At present, what these people need are effective channels and platforms. Among the ones they can readily use are the social media networks, not to mention the biggest there is: Facebook.
Why Do They Do It on Facebook?
Needless to mention, Facebook is a perfect arena for this dirty method. The reason is primarily because the platform is available for everybody. Creating an account is really a piece of cake. Anybody – as long as they have a valid email address – can finish setting up one in a matter of less than ten minutes. Moreover, it is a virtual world. You can be who you want to be. You can be one of the many Angelina Jolies out there. You can even be the reincarnation of Michael Jackson. Basically, you can represent anybody you fancy through posting of fake pictures and information.
The Notorious Modus
There are people who create other accounts solely for fun. They may choose to delete them after utilization. However, the bad guys will do it for purposes advantageous to them. There have been several instances of people stealing the identity of others in order to gain the trust of others (whom the victims know). And from there, a multitude of negative operations happen.
How to Avoid Being a Victim
The ways on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft are quite elementary. First off, privacy options must be set. Actually, this is a right of every user affiliated with any form of social media. When you do not disclose your information to the public, people would less likely get your sensitive information and they won’t be able to use them to their advantage. The idea is to limit the number of people who can access your account. If you want, you can limit it only to your close friends, so you can feel assured that the pictures and all the details you post on Facebook are only seen by those who you know. Or do you really know all them? One more thing is that you have to make certain that anyone you add to your friends’ list is at least an acquaintance. You’ll never know the intention of people who want to add you as a friend even though you don’t know them nor do you have any mutual friends.
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Identity theft is one of the fastest rising kinds of crimes of modern times. This involves the use of the name and information of a person for any purpose of fraudulent transactions. Because of the widespread nature of this crime, insurance companies have devised protection plans for people who might be victimized by the criminals.
Identity Theft Insurance
This is a kind of insurance that can help you recover expenses in the process of restoring your identity if you become a victim of an identity theft crime. This will also include expenses in the clean-up report. The expenses that you will incur in fixing the adverse effects of identity theft can be massive, thus you should get this type of insurance, especially if you are involved in risky activities on the internet or real world.
Expenses covered by identity theft insurance
- Credit report copies
- Lost wages
- Notary, courier and mailing costs
- Phone bills, faxes and photocopying
- Attorney’s fees etc.
The average cost of identity theft insurance with a $20,000 cover is $200. You can have this as an add-on cover that can be included in your homeowner’s insurance. You can also buy it as a separate and distinct policy on your name.
Although the expenses for restoring your identity are covered by the insurance, you have to take note that the process also takes a long time. This makes the procedure of clearing the damage abominable and exhausting.
What is not covered by the id theft insurance?
Although most of the expenses are covered by the identity theft insurance, the policy applies only to frauds on credit. It will not cover other common law violations such as driving offense; it does not restore your good credit record and neither does it clear any criminal records For the clearance of your name, you will have to follow other procedures yourself and the process takes longer than you could imagine. Still, id theft insurance can be helpful in obtaining lost money. The insurance will protect you from losing your assets once you become a victim of the heinous crime.
It is advisable that you take necessary measures to ensure the protection of your identity. Do not throw away your documents without consideration. Moreover, do not share your information online without making sure that you are dealing with the legitimate entities. Such small measures along with a proper insurance cover can prove to be really helpful in the long run.
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Identity theft crime is getting worse especially with the unprecedented rise in the popularity of internet. When you use the internet for personal and financial dealings, some bad elements may try to steal your identity and use it for fraudulent purposes. They steal your personal information and access your financial information. Because of the seriousness of this new crime, many people are afraid of the loss of their identities to criminals.
Protection against identity theft
Because of the rise in crimes related to identity theft, many people are seeking identity theft insurance. There are several things you have to know about this insurance if you are going to purchase it for yourself. You have to know if you really need it, and then you want to know its cost.
What is Identity theft insurance?
The identity theft insurance pertains to your liabilities in case your identity is stolen and used in any criminal act. The insurer will take care of your expenses relevant to this crime. The policy normally covers all the expenses incurred due to the identity theft crime. This type of insurance has a lot of significance for those individuals that use internet for their personal matters and financial matters. It gives them a peace of mind.
Coverage of identity theft insurance
Depending on the insurance, there is a variety of coverage for identity theft insurance. Generally, this type of insurance covers the following aspects:
- Loss of wages due to absence from work while fixing the problem of identity theft.
- Legal expenses such as attorney’s fees, document notarization, mailing, supplies, photocopy costs and phone bills that are relevant to the crime. All types of expenses are given coverage in such insurance.
Cost of coverage
The cost of premium varies on the included coverage and how the insurance policy is obtained. The price of this type of insurance start from $200 per annum to thousands of dollars depending on the way you purchased it.
3 ways to get identity theft insurance
- Inclusion in the rental or homeowner property insurance
- Creditors’ services from the credit card company or bank
- Stand-alone purchase.
Identity theft insurance is your protection against liabilities brought about when crimes are committed using your personal information. It can save you from lots of problems if a crime is committed using your id. You should get this insurance if you use internet to carry out your dealings.
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Credit score is sometimes called credit rating. This is a kind of formal assessment of the creditworthiness of a person, a company or an entity when it comes to debt.
Credit score evaluation
Your credit score is assessed by checking the financial transactions that you carried out in the past. In light of the findings, credit bureaus assess your present day assets and liabilities. This credit score is undertaken by a lending company to evaluate your capacity as a loan applicant. If your credit score is positive, then you can be granted a loan; otherwise, your loan application is declined.
The importance of credit rating or credit score lies in the fact that it helps determine if a loan will be granted to you or not. People who have previous records of non-payment of loans or credit cards usually have a low credit score. It gives the creditor the idea that this person with negative credit score does not fulfill the criteria to obtain a loan.
The importance of a good credit score
- Having a high credit score can enable you to acquire a loan easily. With good scores, you don’t find problems in obtaining personal loan or car loan. It is also helpful when you are obtaining a loan for property. This is an indication of how you handle debt servicing.
- A high credit score is indicative that you are not a high risk borrower. You can pay your loan on time and will not misuse the funds.
- A high credit score qualifies you for the approval of credit cards and an increase in credit the limit.
- The credit score also ascertains the amount of utility and leasing of a deposit.
- High credit score can even have a bearing in your eligibility for employment
- High credit score can also help you get discounts on insurance cover and premium payments.
Who sets a person’s credit rating?
In the financial industry, credit rating agency or credit bureau is tasked to study and evaluate the financial statistics of a person. Generally, agency creates a 3-digit FIFCO credit score for an individual based on his or her financial history. For this service, the agency collects a certain fee which is to be borne by the loan application in most of the cases.
By fulfilling your financial liabilities, you can keep your credit score in a good shape. This can save you from problems in the future.
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Identity theft has been increasing at an alarming rate across the world. In simple words, an Identity theft is basically an individual stealing your personal identification. Your personal information could be stolen to access your bank accounts, passports and driving licenses without you being aware of it. There are certain cautionary measures that one can take to minimize the risk of a thief deceitfully accessing your accounts, charging your credit card and taking advantage of your clean record.
Take care of your important documents
Prior to discarding any piece of paper or document, it is advisable to re-check that it does not consist of any valuable information that can be misused. Millions of people become victims to an identity theft by carelessly discarding personal documents and statements. For security purposes, personal documents must be shredded in a shredder rather than plainly throwing it in the trash. Important paperwork should not be disposed of in a public place. Rather, disposing of it at home is more trustworthy. Thieves usually gather information from credit card offers and bills that are left unattended in the mail box.
Keep an eye out for suspicious activity
Meticulously tracking your financial details will help against being a victim to an identity theft. The additional effort involved in protecting your bank accounts is worthy of credit. Most banks notify the customer whenever there is a transaction that takes place either through the credit card or through the bank. Being watchful of any unusual transactions from your account can raise a red flag. A notice of change in personal details sent by the bank even though you have not advised your bank of any changes is also an indication of your accounts being meddled with.
Guard your passwords
As a rule, passwords, bank account numbers and personal information must not be saved in your cell phone. Do not write them down as well. Memorizing them is the safest option. Passwords to your banking accounts must be a combination of symbols, numbers and letters. Erasing data from the hard drive of an old computer that you wish to give away will guard you from an identity theft.
One of the famous online hazards that are prone to falling prey to an identity theft is through phishing. Phishing is an online method which uses websites and emails that are intended to steal personal information from an individual’s account. Fake e-mail messages are sent from a trusted source such as your bank, requesting for personal information. People fall prey to these tricks and end up becoming victims of an identity theft.
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Identity theft is one of the most inconvenient things that can happen to a person concerning his personal and financial information. People with criminal schemes are everywhere and they try hard to make an easy prey out of careless individuals. Hence, for you to avoid falling victim to these criminals you have to mind the simple things you should do or do not do online.
Destroy Sensitive Files
If you are the type of person who just reads the mail and disposes of it carelessly then you are an easy target for identity thieves. Even if it is just a statement that shows your address and telephone number, you should destroy it before throwing it away. Remember, thieves may use this basic information to gather more details from you. All the more, you should be careful when the documents contain very sensitive information such as your credit card information, banking details and investment statements. If you can shred the documents before disposal.
Mind the Schedule of Your Mail
You probably have an idea about which particular weeks of the month your bills arrive. There are times that they may be delayed for a day up to three days, and that is just fine. However, when the waiting extends to a week or more, you have to identify the reason why the mail arrives late as this may be intercepted or stolen by sinister individuals or syndicates.
Create Hard-to-Guess Passwords
Needless to say, you should be using passwords that are not easy for people to guess. It is advisable that apart from using an alphanumeric combination, you include other unconventional characters. This will lessen the chance of thieves accessing your various accounts online. Moreover, you ought to create a unique password for each of your online accounts. This way, in case an identity thief hacked his way into knowing one of your accounts, you do not have to worry about the same person accessing your other accounts.
Know Phishing Methods
This is probably one of the schemes that you should really be wary of. There are people who will try to gather as much information from you through seemingly legitimate platforms. For example, you will find an email that bears a link to a particular website. The website may attempt to falsely represent a company or a service that you really trust. Because they hide behind a good name, you give the details they require from you. Always verify beyond a doubt that the email came from the company it says it came from.
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As you’re already aware, having good credit is important if you’re going to accomplish important milestones in your life such as owning a home, getting a car or even paying for college tuition. This is why it is very important that you monitor your credit report on a regular basis. Also, with identity theft on a rise, it is also important to view your credit report as a way to make sure that you have not had any fraudulent transactions or accounts opened in your name as this could cause serious financial problems.
If you’ve never heard of a credit monitoring service, you should really learn to understand what it can do before you begin to sign up for one. Below is a general list of roles the credit monitoring service has.
- Identity Theft Protection. Your credit monitoring service will provide you with routine alerts so that you’re always aware of the activities that are taking place on your credit report, allowing you to take any necessary actions.
- Updates on Unauthorized Users. There are a lot of borrowers out there that would jump at the chance to use someone else’s credit score. Credit monitoring services allow you to quickly identify such activities and will send you an instant alert. With instant alerts, it allows you to make the appropriate actions immediately. This service alone could save you a lot of time and money.
- Up to Date Credit Reports. Once you’ve registered with a credit monitoring service, you are immediately given access to an accurate and very detailed credit report so that you can stay current with your credit status.
- Tools for Improving Credit. If you’ve chosen a great credit monitoring service, you also have lots of tools to help you in fixing credit if it is currently poor. You are able to have an initial appraisal of all your credit. By doing this, you can check out your problem areas and be able to create a plan to solve those problems.
Above all these roles above, you will find that the one thing a credit monitoring service can offer you that you might not have though of which is the satisfaction in knowing that you have protective measures in place that will support you around the clock. This will give you the peace of mind you need in knowing that you’re safe from credit damage or identity theft as you properly plan for your short and long term future.
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Today, you do not only lose your personal properties to thieves. Modern thieves and crooks also steal your identity. Yes, with the advent of the internet we are witnessing a sharp rise in the instances of a new cybercrime –identity theft. This is one of the fastest rising crimes of today, not only in developed countries but all over the world.
What does these new breed of thieves steal from you?
With identity theft, the culprits steal valuable information about you which is actually your identity, your good name and credit standing. Typically, the things stolen by these cyber criminals are your SSS number, bank account numbers and credit card information. The purpose of identity theft is to get information about you, use the information to steal money and leave you to pay for the stolen money.
How to avoid identity theft?
Identity theft can happen in different scenarios – from the internet and from print media. So, you need to try your best to avoid the things that can give the culprits access to personal information about you.
- Dispose of your credit card billing statements and other mail from banks and lending institutions properly. Burn or shred these so that they cannot be found and used by criminals. Once the criminals get the information, they may be able to access your bank accounts and credit cards.
- Be watchful of spam mails in your email inbox. Never give any financial information to queries in the emails, especially if the sender is a total stranger to you. Never click a link in your email or social media site. The identity thieves might be trying to pose as some reliable and trustworthy sources so as to get access to valuable information about you.
- Give warning to the members of your households. Tell them about this new crime so that when strangers ask information about you, they can protect your identity.
- There is one kind of insurance policy that can protect you against fraud and identity theft. You can sign up with an insurer that covers identity protection.
You should know how rampant identity theft is. In order not to be victimized, safeguard all your personal information by not giving them to any person who is not known to you. This new type of crime is rampant in the modern world of internet and cyber-crimes. Do your best to remain safe from issues arising out of identity theft.
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