Identity Theft – Protect Yourself

Make no mistake – we are under an unrelenting onslaught of identity theft. There should be no doubt in your mind, the stakes are high, the con artists are becoming more sophisticated with each passing day, and the attempts to steal your identity will only continue to increase.

We hear all too often of laptop computers containing the confidential information of tens of thousands of Americans accidentally left behind on subways, hackers stealing account information on millions of credit cardholders, and personal information being transmitted without proper encryption.

And this is not to mention the modern day con artists who operate within the unseen confines of the world wide web, emailing, phishing and pharming – all techniques designed to fool unsuspecting individuals into providing key information such as account numbers or social security numbers under the guise of some legitimate business activity.

Many of the identity theft preventative steps are built on exercising common sense.

In addition, you may want to consider one other step to the prevention and / or early detection of identity theft. Consider buying an identity theft service.

When evaluating any identity theft service, the primary functions you should look for are fraud alert and fraud monitoring. Through the fraud alert process, you are called by the credit bureau whenever you or someone else attempts to establish a line of credit in your name. This allows you to verify if the activity is something you initiated or approve. The fraud alert indicator on your credit bureau record needs to be reinitiated every 90 days. Your service provider should perform this update on your behalf. Fraud monitoring is an automated process where suspected underground internet sites that illegally trade or sell personal information are regularly scanned to ensure your information is not present.

Credit monitoring, which most services include in their product bundle, watches your credit report for any suspicious changes that might indicate the theft of personal information.

When selecting an identity theft service be sure they offer recovery assistance, which in the event that you have been a victim of identity theft, contacts the authorities and necessary entities, related to your credit cards, drivers license, social security number, and the like.

Beyond these basic product features, you will find that some service providers include other additional benefits – free copies of your credit report, for example. You may also want to determine precisely the list of personal information that is protected, as this varies with each provider.

Lastly, look at the service provider’s track record and years in business. It is important that you have confidence in the company’s reputation, their reliability to perform, and that they will work hard to earn your trust. If you think you are interested in the safety and peace of mind that comes with identity theft protection, there are many reputable firms from which to choose. Invest a little time in researching the companies and products and make the right selection for you.