Confessions of an Identity Thief
Identity thieves are always on the prowl for the next victim. The Federal Trade Commission has estimated almost nine million people in the United States of America, every year, have become victims of identity theft. Not every person is at the risk of becoming part of the statistics, but some people fall victim a lot easier, as they reveal more about themselves much easier. more ...
Your Guide to Identity Theft Protection
Identity theft is the act of someone assuming your identity for their own gain. This has happened since the beginning of time. Someone will find it beneficial to be someone other than themselves and they will find a way to pull of the hoax. In the past people often had to meet you in order to steal your identity. A person would listen to you give out your information over the phone. A cashier would steel your credit card information. A robber would take your wallet.
With the invention of the internet, identity theft has become an even greater issue. It has been studied that one in eight Americans has been a victim of identity theft. No longer does your wallet or mail need to be stolen. Today hackers can invade your computer with malware and spyware that can capture your keystrokes. You could be giving away your information without even knowing it.
Of course, whenever there are bad guys, there are good guys. Identity theft protection companies are available to help protect your information from getting out there and from being used.
What is Identity Theft Protection?
Identity theft protection is a service that companies offer. These companies monitor your credit and public records for signs of identity theft. You are entrusting them to stay on top of your identity in real time so that no matter what you do, you're not being phished or scammed out of your identity.
Can I Protect My Identity On My Own?
You need to be vigilant in protecting your information. According to the FBI there are many things that you can do to protect your identity on your own, including:
- Do not carry your social security card on you
- If your wallet is stolen have all numbers, including your driver's license number and credit card numbers, changed
- Lock your mailbox
- Shred important documents before throwing them away
- Be careful what you talk about in public
- Change your internet passwords periodically
- Check your credit yearly
- Use a firewall, anti-virus software or antispyware software
- Apply a security freeze to your credit reports
How Does Identity Theft Protection Work?
Identity theft protection services track many areas of your identity on the internet. These areas should include:
- Your credit
- Your address
- Your name
What Stand Out Features Make an Identity Theft Protection Service Good?
Along with monitoring your credit you want a service that will go above and beyond for you. After all, you can monitor your own credit. Some of the services that make identity theft protection companies stand out from the pack include:
- Daily, real time monitoring of your accounts
- Credit monitoring at all three credit agencies
- Access to your credit reports
- The service comes with firewall and antimalware software
- An insurance package in case of identity theft
- Monitoring underground chat rooms
- Monitoring underground websites where thieves have been known to sell information
- Offering services to help repair your credit and identity if there is theft
What Can Identity Theft Protection Services Protect Me From?
An identity theft protection service will be able to help protect several areas of your identity, but not all. The areas that they should be able to help protect you are when criminals try to open new accounts under your name. The companies will be less likely to help protect you from existing fraud, usage of your credit card, social security number fraud, fraud when a person is being arrested and uses your identity and fraud when a person seeks medical attention.
How Much Does an Identity Theft Protection Service Cost?
The price of an identity theft protection service will vary depending on how much coverage you have. Generally these services will work based on a monthly fee program. When looking at the pricing scale you need to do so with a fine tooth comb. Are you paying per month or per year? Does the price cover everyone in your family? How much is the cost for a child under 18? Do I get more or less customer service depending on the price? A basic fee may change substantially depending on the level of service that you receive.
Why Would I Need Identity Theft Protection?
If you are willing to do all the legwork to keep your identity safe then you may not need this service. However, do you have the time or the internet savvy to stay on top of your identity? Are you running a small business where your name and credit information are out there with multiple vendors? Do you want to keep yourself, your family and your business safe? If so, then you may benefit from identity theft protection.