Preventing Senior Citizen Identity Theft

Internet fraud and identity thieves are as numerous today as they have ever been and are regularly taking advantage of the most cutting edge technology in order to steal law-abiding citizens’ money. Many of the people who get caught up in these schemes and thefts are senior citizens, and they are often even sought out and specifically targeted by experienced fraudsters. They exploit these seniors’ decline in mental quickness and their trust by befriending them and then later turning around to scam them through the use of false investment opportunities, sweepstakes, or by using numerous other tactics.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by understanding how these criminals operate and the methods they employ in order to get the job done. Luckily, there are many specific things to look out for that can indicate that someone is attempting to commit identity theft or fraud. If you are a friend or family member of a senior citizen, read over the following red flags to look out for in order to help protect them against fraud:

  • Large increases in debit or credit card usage.
  • Large withdrawals from savings, particularly if it’s an inactive account.
  • Overdraft fees or bounced checks.
  • New debit or credit cards that come in the mail.
  • Forged signatures.
  • Check numbers that are out of sync.
  • The senior is confused about their account balance.
  • Caregivers receiving too much pay.
  • Increases in monthly expenditures.
  • The senior speaks about a lottery or sweepstakes they’ve won.
  • The senior states they’ve provided personal info through email or over the phone.
  • While the above are some good tells that may well indicate scams or fraud being committed, it’s also important to understand the nature of the attacks themselves and take a proactive approach to guarding yourself or your loved ones against such attacks. Let’s take a closer look and see what types of scams are most common and what ways are best to guard against them.

Phishing Tactics

Phishing attacks are generally sent out in the form of an urgent message to a ton of different people at the same time. This is where the “fishing” term comes from, as even if the majority of the people who get these messages ignore them, anyone who does fall for the “lure” can net the scammer a huge profit. They’ll often be messages that will tell the receiver that there’s something wrong with their account and will ask for personal information in order to reconcile the issue. They’ll often come through email and can look very convincing. Many times they’ll use spoofed websites of banks, payment companies, or financial institutions. For example, your bank might have the website address “www.mainstreetbank.com” but a phisher might use something that looks like “www.ma1nstreetbank.com.”

Emails aren’t the only methods, as there are also scams that revolve around phone calls or even text messages. In order to avoid phishing attempts, review the following steps:

  • Be critical of any email asking for personal financial information, particularly if it says it’s an urgent matter.
  • Avoid filling out forms through the email itself. Instead, always try to put your financial information into secure sites or over the phone after calling them directly.
  • Don’t follow any links that you receive through text message or email.
  • If you’re entering any private financial data, always make sure it’s a secure site.
  • Log into each of your online accounts at least once per month.
  • Review your credit card and bank statement regularly.
  • Keep your internet browser up to date.

Common Scams

Not all identities are stolen over the internet. Some are stolen in person. If you find yourself in a situation that seems almost too good to be true, it probably is. Let’s take a look at some common scams that senior citizens and other people regularly fall for:

Charity

The victims of these scams are told to be the middleman for a donation drive. They’ll be asked to deposit large checks into their account, keep a small cut for themselves for the trouble, and then forward the rest of the money into the fraudsters account. The money they’re “depositing” into their account doesn’t actually exist or sometimes even belongs to other victims.

Working from Home

A victim sees an advertisement promising them big bucks for working an easy job from the comfort of their own home. They’ll have checks deposited into their bank account and are told to wire 90% of it back to the fraudster and keep the remaining portion for themselves. Like with the above example, this money often doesn’t even exist, so the actual money that gets sent belongs to the victim.

Dating

The victim gets involved with an online boyfriend or girlfriend who tells them to deposit a check or money order into their account and then wire them the money. These checks are bogus so the boyfriend/girlfriend ends up getting money from the victim’s own pocket.

Protecting Yourself

While the above are common examples, there are endless scenarios that a fraudster can use to steal a senior citizen’s money. It’s best to proactively protect yourself from them rather than hoping to do damage control after your identity is already stolen. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to go about doing this:

  • Regularly review your bank accounts and financial statements.
  • Sign up for security alerts through your mobile or on your email account.
  • Monitor your credit score to check it for unauthorized activity.
  • Keep private information private – use direct deposits and keep all financial records secure under lock and key.
  • If you are a victim of fraud, contact your financial services company immediately and notify them of the problem.

Senior identity theft is a very real thing that does affect countless individuals every single year. By taking a proactive approach in protecting yourself or someone you know, you will be able to minimize your risk. The most important thing is to be skeptical of strangers promising you money for little or no effort or of messages urging you to send them your personal information.

7 Celebrities Who Have Been Victims of Identity Theft

The problem with identity theft is that it doesn’t discriminate against one demographic or socioeconomic status. In many cases, the theft is not due to carelessness on the part of the victim. Celebrities have to deal with the annoyance of identity theft as well, and they have plenty of money to steal, so they are prime targets. Here’s a list of 7 well-known celebrities that have been victims of identity theft related crimes

steven speilbertSteven Spielberg was the victim of identity theft, however he had nothing stolen besides his privacy. In the 1990s, Spielberg had his personal information used to allow an inmate in a Tennessee prison view on Spielberg’s American Express credit card purchases. The man later claimed he did it to supply the celebrity’s information to a Hollywood studio. Apparently this genius thought he could make money by getting a movie made about his small time id theft caper.  Are people just that stupid?

liv tylerLiv Tyler had a bout with an identity thief in 2011. Her hairstylist used her credit card number to help herself to plenty of merchandise and services around town. When caught, it seems the stylist didn’t use Tyler’s card alone. She used Anne Hathaway, Penelope Cruz and Melanie Griffith’s card information as well. Tips and payment aren’t enough?

 

ricky gervaisRicky Gervais was on the receiving end of a fraud in 2009. Using an insider at the bank to obtain Gervais’ information, the group of thieves transferred 200,000 pounds from his bank account. The cash was to be used to secure gold bullion. While the scheme seems fairly clever, the identification they used was a passport, with a cutout photograph of Gervais. The pic was taken off the DVD box of The Office. They needed the identification to pick up the gold they had purchased.

 

paris hiltonParis Hilton had her name used in setting up a website. The site was dubbed Paris.org. Being registered as a trademark, she informed the thieves that she wanted payment for the use of her name. Later, her run-in with a teen in Minnesota resulted in her information being posted online. Apparently the teen had hacked in to Ms. Hilton’s phone.

 
A busboy was not using his head when he stole Ms. Oprah Winfrey’s social security number, birth dates of friends and relatives and even addresses of Oprah and 200 of the Richest People in America list published in Forbes. With the use of cell phones, a library computer and people imitating couriers, the thief snagged all of this info from credit protection services and reporting through Equifax.  If you’re going to steal someone’s identity (or bank info) you might as well swing for the fences and steal Oprah’s right?

Tiger WoodsKnown criminal, Anthony Lemar Taylor, picked a good one. He obtained Tiger Woods’ information after finding his information was not that secure. Taylor purchased $50,000 in merchandise. To top it all off, Taylor procured a fake license to drive, social security card and a military I.D, all in Tiger’s name. This bright guy even misspelled Tiger’s middle name wrong on the document’s but managed to still fill a storage unit to the hilt with stolen goods.

 

Image result for Will SmithWill Smith found several fake accounts were used to grab $33,000 under his real name, William C. Smith. The 2009 incident wasn’t the first time for the thief. He had been arrested before for stealing the former Atlanta Hawks basketball player, Steve Smith’s name. He was still on parole for the prior arrest. Some folks never learn.

So what’s the moral of the story here?  That anyone can be a victim of identity theft.  You, me, Kim Kardashian or the mail man.  Identity thieves don’t discriminate.  If you haven’t started making decisions to better protect your identity, then you are just a statistic waiting to happen.  Learn how to protect yourself on a daily basis and discover what credit monitoring can do as an proactive tool to help limit the damage should be ever be a victim of identity theft.

10 Common Credit Mistakes You’re Making

Last week we mentioned how Your Credit Rating Might Be Ruined Even When You’re Not Doing Anything Wrong. This week we’ll be addressing The 10 Most Frequent Credit Mistakes you’re making.

What’s a Credit Rating?

Your credit rating is a judgment about your fiscal well being, at a certain time. It suggests the threat you represent for lenders, in contrast to other consumers.

There are various approaches to work out FICO scores. The credit rating agencies Equifax and Trans Union use a scale from 300 to 900. High scores on this particular scale are great. The larger your rating, the lower risk you pose to the lender. Lenders might also provide their very own methods for arriving at credit ratings. Additionally, lenders must choose the lowest score you’ll be able to have and still borrow cash from them. They may also apply your score to create the interest you may pay.

Which are the 10 Most Frequent Credit Rating Errors?

1. Neglecting to review your own credit history for mistakes: Assess your credit report at least yearly. Errors on credit reports are somewhat more frequent than you could have visualized and you should stay along with the problem. Should you find any mistakes, contact the credit reporting agency when possible to fix the scenario.

2. Not using your complete legal name in monetary records: It Is possible that individuals with common names or similar sounding names could have their name imputed to a credit report that’s not theirs, as was the situation for Mr. Dave Johnson of Pembroke, Ontario. Use your complete legal title on credit programs, bank accounts as well as other files that become segment of your own credit history.

3. Paying your bills late and neglecting to make at least the minimal monthly payment:In time your lenders will finally report your account as past due, which can damage your credit If you do not pay at least the minimal amount due on score When there is a rationale why you will not be in a position to cover your invoice promptly, get in touch with your lender prior to your invoice is arrangement if due to work-out an feasible

4. Maxing out on your charge cards: If your charge cards are maxed out, prospective lenders may challenge your ability to refund. You might be billed an increased rate of interest to compensate for what exactly is viewed as a higher hazard in case you are qualified to get a loan.

5. Not alarming lenders if you have proceeded: Your statement may arrive late and as a result your payments could be late, possibly damaging your credit score.

6. Registering for too many new charge cards: Consumers who often open new credit cards are viewed as a greater danger than those who do not.

7. Closure older credit card accounts: Closure this can adversely impact your credit score and older credit card accounts shortens the duration of your credit history.

8. Do Not cosign for someone else’s loan: You could be liable for that man’s debt and harm your credit.

9. Do Not share your charge card or social insurance number with anyone: There are a lot of abound where individuals strive by telephone, e-mail or mail to get your charge card or social insurance scams number This is a fast-track to fiscal catastrophe and id theft.

10. Dismissing the warning signals of credit issues: If you’ve problem making the minimum payments on time and have maxed out all of your credit, you’ve severe debt issues.

Professional assistance is required by serious debt issues. Contact a reputable credit repair company or a debt management service to help get your credit moving upward again

Top 10 States with the Highest Credit Scores

Lenders look at credit scores as a means to judge an individual’s creditworthiness. In today’s market, it may look like everyone is taking a hit to that all important credit rating. It’ll likely come as a surprise to you that some states are do better than many others. Dwelling in a specific locale does not mean you’ve got perfect credit, yet. Understanding which says top the list will provide you with a concept of the manner in which you compare together with the individuals residing around you.

What Variables Determine a State’s Typical Credit Score?

Just what variables can alter the common credit rating of a state’s residents? There really are a number to contemplate. Joblessness is among the top concerns. States with better employment numbers often have residents using a healthy FICO score. Being jobless forces some visitors to rely greatly on credit to fund essentials, and that could drive their scores down. Foreclosures inside the state are another prime concern. Other factors include:

  • Typical charge card payment history
  • Natural disasters which affect the state market
  • New companies
  • Home marketplace
  • Insolvency rate
  • Warm weather locations often endure more than states that face the chilly each year, also. This might take part because of their tourism-based markets. As a country, Vantage Scores average from 707 to 785, but by state, there’s a broader distribution.

A Review Of the Top Ten

10. Iowa – With a score that sits around 771, Iowa makes the most effective 10. Residents of Iowa tend to get low bank card delinquencies, as well as the state in general has low joblessness. Iowa does take a moderate ding to get a greater-than-average foreclosure speed. It had been enough to motivate the state right down to number 10.

9. Hawaii – Hawaii is tied with Wisconsin and Connecticut for average credit rating, with all three coming in at 772. Hawaii is the exception to the warm weather rule. While this sunlight state is famous for the high expense of living, it also hosts among the greatest amount of millionaires per capita in the U.S.

8. Wisconsin – Coming in at 772, Wisconsin boasts a gross state product of $248.3 billion. An adverse element in its credit rating is high joblessness. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the speed in Wisconsin hovers around 6.3, but that’s a large progress on the 2010 amounts.

7. Connecticut – The per capita income in the area of Connecticut is among the elite in the nation, but the unemployment rate runs high. In cases like this, the one positive and one negative cancel each other out to provide the state an average credit rating of 772.

6. Massachusetts – With a score of 773, Massachusetts is number six on the top ten list. Like Connecticut, Massachusetts increases points depending on its high personal income – it’s the 3rd-wealthiest state in the union. It’s also home to 13 Fortune 500 firms, making it-one of CNBC’s top states for company in 2010.

5. North Dakota – Back in 2011, this was the state that topped the set of greatest credit scores. These days, it’s still among the top competitors based on all of the credit metrics. North Dakota reports the lowest unemployment rate in the state – only 2.7 percent – and keeps low bank card delinquencies, giving it an entire credit rating of 775.

4. New Hampshire – Linked with North Dakota is New Hampshire. Like its New England neighbors, New Hampshire gains points for high personal income. It ranks number seven in the nation. Unlike Massachusetts and Connecticut, it’s a fair unemployment rate, also – well under the national average.

3. Vermont – The state of Vermont ties with South Dakota for time slot two and three. Vermont has steadily kept low foreclosure speeds. The national percentage of foreclosures is around one in every 2,370 home units. In Vermont, that amount is closer to one in every 39,000 units. Vermont ranks high in virtually every measurable class, giving it an average credit rating of 777.

2. South Dakota – Another state that produces the list every year, South Dakota additionally boasts a typical credit rating of 777. The state keeps a reduced unemployment rate, tied with Nebraska at 3.6. Additionally, it makes the very best six for high scores in most quantifiable groupings.

1. Minnesota – Topping the list by the end of 2013 was Minnesota. The residents of the state have a few of the best credit ratings in the country. United, their average sets Minnesota in the lead using a score of 785.

Fico scores transform year to year for every state. In 2011, North Dakota was on top of the stack, followed closely by Vermont, South Dakota and Nebraska. In 2013, Nebraska did not even make the list, due in part to a large number of reported personal bankruptcies.

Going to a different location in the country is most likely not the solution to boosting your credit rating, but understanding your state average does help provide some perspective. It requires work to build it up again when your score has dropped. The important thing for rebuilding a faltering credit report is an all-inclusive credit repair solution. It begins having an overview of your payment history and setting FCRA and FACTA laws to meet your needs, in order to construct better credit opportunities wherever you reside

6 Credit and Banking Myths Busted

Creditors and financial institutions are always drawing up plans to increase their revenues. Most of the time, consumers like you fall prey to their hidden charges or confusing rules. This is why a lot of you doubt whether the creditors can actually resort to such mischievous loan origination tactics or not.

To help you make smart decisions, I have discussed five of the most popular misconceptions related to credit and the banking
practices observed in our country.

Myth 1: Credit card companies cannot increase the rate of interest on my cards.

Fact: Actually, they can. However, the CARD Act has been put into place to protect you from their most horrendous abuse, i.e., they can no longer hike the interest rate on your card’s existing balances without you being 60 days late in making the payments. Still, there are certain loopholes that you must be aware of like:

  • Rate of interest on credit card’s are variable and that they are always dependant on their prime rates. So, the interest charges on your balances will not increase any further unless the interest rates go up.
  • You could be slapped with higher interest rates, depending upon your creditworthiness and payment history. If you pose higher risk to the creditors’ money, then you’ll be charged with higher rates of interest on all your future transactions.
  • Your creditors can increase the interest rates on your cards for practically any reason after a 12-month period. However, the new, increased rate will only be applied to future purchases and not on the present balances. For that too, your credit card issuer, is bound to notify you at least 45 days ahead of any change in your cards’ rate of interest.

One of the most effective ways to resolve this of kind credit problem is to get your balances transferred or to payoff your dues through a personal loan, but make sure you are never made to pay as per the purchase annual percentage rate (APR).

Myth 2: Credit card payments are always used to pay off the highest interest incurring debt first.

Fact: This isn’t always true. Creditors use different rates to charge different kinds of transactions. The rate of interest on a purchase (is high) but then, it differs from the balance transfer that is basically low. Now, with the advent of the CARD Act everything such thing has changed. The payment made by you must be applied to the highest interest rate balance first. But, your payments should be greater in value than the minimum outstanding balances.

So, if you make minimum payments every month, then your money will be used to pay back the lowest interest rate balance first. The best tip would be to avoid having balances transferred and spend money from a single credit card. Frankly speaking, banks usually get to have your balances trapped when there are multiple kinds of balances incurred in a single credit card.

Myth 3: Every zero percent offer means the same.

Fact: No, all such credit card offers aren’t. A huge difference exist between a zero percent APR credit card and a zero percent purchase financing. Former is actually a balance transfer card wherein you’ll not be charged any interest on all your purchases for certain period known as the promotional period, whereas, the latter will defer interest from getting applied to your balances in some chosen departmental or retail stores.

In case of deferred interest credit cards, make sure you’ve paid off all the balances before the expiry of the promotional period because if you don’t pay off the balances within the said period, then you’ll be charged interest for the entire promotional period. Similarly, zero percent APR credit cards either have their interest reduced or stayed during promotional period. This is one of the most suitable ways to wipe out your overwhelming credit card balances and stay financially healthy.

However, as soon as it is over, the interest on their balances increases drastically. So, be careful with your use of these offers and always make it a point to pay off all the bills before the promotional period expires, as it might take you years to repay them all.

Myth 4: Closing credit card accounts will increase my credit score.

Fact: Actually, canceling old credit card accounts or any other debt is never a good idea to promote your credit score. People have the misconception that old debts look ominous to potential lenders. But, it is a lot better to pay off your bills on time and not missing a deadline than to keep a card with $5,000 available as credit lying idle in your closet.

So, basically its foolish to wipe out old credit card balances by having them cancelled. This is because old credit card accounts will elongate your credit history that plays an important role in improving your credit score. It would help creditors to evaluate whether you can manage your financial obligations responsibly or not. However, there are certain acceptable ways to have old debts removed from your credit report, if you’re hell bent on doing so.

Myth 5: Credit card issuers don’t provide any freebie to college students for signing up for their cards.

Fact: This is not always true. Though credit card companies are barred from doling out freebies like T-Shirts in front of schools, as per the CARD Act, yet that doesn’t stop them from signing-up students for the sake of bonuses. They can even promote their services/products on campus. Still, the practices isn’t good for students, as they are asked to spend with the lure of getting a free gift on every purchase they make. This is much worse than getting a T-Shirt for signing up.

Myth 6: I am protected from any kind of credit card or debit card fraud.

Fact: Not necessarily. In order to defend yourself against a credit fraud, you must report such an incident within 60 days of its occurrence. Or else, you’d lose a lot of your rights. In case of ATM/debit cards, banks can hold you responsible for not more than $500 in fraudulent transactions, provided you’ve notified them about the incident after two days of it from happening. On the other hand, credit card companies will not hold you liable for a fraud of not more than $50. There are some banks that waive off a fraud of $50 altogether.

If you are charged and held liable for credit frauds, then you’ll have to make the payments and in turn have your credit rating damaged. However, you can work to improve your credit score after negative trade lines like payment defaults, credit frauds or bankruptcy is reported against your accounts.

Whatever be the case, it is your responsibility to avoid any kind of liability. Utilizing a credit monitoring service is a good, proactive way to prevent identity theft.  Always keep a record of your transactions and inform the concerned personnel of the bank or the creditor, the moment you detect any suspicious activity. Moreover, guard your confidential financial details and never share your Personal Identification Number (PIN) with anyone, or keep an easy, obvious one.

Is Your NetFlix Password In The Wrong Hands?

For millions of Americans, their Netflix accounts are essential to getting through a sick day or weekend at home. Nevertheless, something most of these subscribers don’t pay much mind to is keeping basic account security that helps to keep their individual info safe. Something as easy as changing a password regularly may appear like a bit of a hassle, but it’s vital to making sure ongoing account security, particularly as it associates with current hacking attacks.

A number of major data breaches in recent months have potentially put Netflix users at risk of having their streaming accounts hacked, according to Advertisement Week’s Lost Remote vertical. In mid-October 2016 and once again previously this month, Netflix began alerting customers that it had actually been checking its own user records versus data exposed in other companies’ information breaches, indicating that while Netflix itself has actually been unaffected, user accounts were still at threat. As a result, impacted users were required to alter their passwords.

What’s the risk?

The reason for customers to change their passwords is basic: Many individuals use the very same login details for numerous or perhaps all their online accounts, according to TIME Data Security. While can make it much easier for individuals to bear in mind their passwords, it likewise makes it simpler for hackers to get access to potentially important details. Even something as easy as a Netflix password can give criminals– who can frequently buy taken login data at low individual costs– access to crucial information that can be used for fraud, including name, address, and even charge card data.

Customers can examine to see how their accounts have been accessed by making use of Netflix’s “Viewing Activity” feature, which will show info such as the IP address and place where accounts have been accessed, the news source stated. That, in turn, can assist individuals comprehend if their accounts have been subjected to these kinds of attacks, and trigger them to start altering their passwords for their other accounts if they haven’t currently.

Getting smarter

People typically know they need to utilize multiple passwords for their various accounts– ideally using an unique one for each account they develop– hackers also know that this isn’t basic practice for the huge bulk of internet users, inning accordance with KrebsOnSecurity. Hackers also understand that if they have, state, a victim’s Facebook password, they can attempt using that password for Twitter, Netflix and even savings account and have some quantity of success.

Fortunately for numerous web users is that larger business like Netflix are taking preemptive actions to make sure account information isn’t used by hackers, but there’s no single sure-fire way to prevent this from occurring. Businesses can examine their own records versus exactly what’s been dripped online, but it depends on users change their login information.

” Some Netflix members have actually received emails motivating them to alter their account passwords as a precautionary procedure due to the recent disclosure of extra credentials from an older breach at another internet business,” Netflix told KrebsOnSecurity. “Note that we are constantly participating in these kinds of proactive security procedures (leveraging Scumblr in addition to other mechanisms and information sources), not just when it comes to significant security breaches such as this one.”

In addition to keeping different passwords for all their separate accounts, it’s smart for users to make sure they take efforts to read more about the dangers they face and alter their passwords regularly. That way, even if a years– old Netflix account is breached, there’s little chance of that to affect other accounts. When passwords fail you, it’s constantly excellent to have an identity theft security plan in place.  Take proactive steps to secure your personal information and keep track of your credit by monitoring it regularly.

What Identity Thieves Do With Stolen Credit Cards

Unless you live in a remote village on some tropical island, it’s almost 100% likely that you or someone you know has been a victim of identity theft.  Unfortunately, identity theft is a harsh reality that we all have to accept and do our best to prevent.  But have you ever wondered what’s really going on behind the scenes when your identity is stolen?  How many criminals are seeing your social security number or your credit card information?  This is a very scary thing to consider.  According to an article on CBSNews.com here’s what’s happening to your information after it’s been fraudulently taken.

If your credit card information is stolen as part of a large breach, it’s more likely that your identity and information will be sold at least once as part of a package deal. Along the path to fraudulent purchases your card will be valued based on such factors as whether it is proven to be active (typically with small purchases that may go unnoticed) and whether other information is included — such as passwords, Social Security numbers, and birthdates that make it easier to open new lines of credit in your name.

Once your card information ends up in the hands of the final “user,” the fraudulent action can take many forms. The thief may make a duplicate card, choose to open up fraudulent accounts in your name, or simply use your existing card to buy items that can be resold for cash. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-identity-thieves-do-with-stolen-credit-cards/

Once you find out that your credit card, social security number or some other personal identifiable information has been stolen, you will have to take some corrective and preventative actions. Start by calling your credit card company and let them know what has happened.  If any account were opened fraudulently, you’ll need to contact those companies as well so they can close the unauthorized accounts before more charges are made.    File police reports and consider placing a freeze on your credit for at least 90 days.  This will prevent anyone from running your credit during that time, so no new unauthorized accounts can be opened.

Use a credit monitoring service to stay on top of daily changes to your credit reports.  If any new items pop up that you don’t recognize, it’s likely fallout from the credit card or identity theft.  In the future, use some of these tips to help keep your personal information safe.

 

Family Credit Monitoring Plans

Don’t Put Off Protecting Your Family Any Longer

If you have a household of 2 adults and 3 children, purchasing an individual credit monitoring plan for each will run you well over $100/month.  This just isn’t feasible for most families who want some peace of mind with a good, comprehensive credit & identity monitoring service.  Now you can protect your entire family for less than $30 per month.  With child identity theft becoming more prevalent than adult ID theft, it’s crucial that even young children have identity protection & monitoring in place.  One incident of identity theft can ruin their credit for years to come.

Family Protection Plan

Right now, the most affordable family credit monitoring plan is offered by IdentityGuard. The price is $27.99/month and this covers 2 adults + up to 15 children.  Some of the features included with the family monitoring plan are:

  • Social Security Monitoring
  • Online “Black Market” Monitoring
  • ID Verification Alerts
  • 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring
  • Credit Scores*
  • Identity Theft Victim Assistance
  • $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance**
  • Child identity monitoring (kID Sure®)

Couples Protection Plan

If you don’t necessarily need a plan that covers multiple children, but just yourself your significant other, IdentityGuard has a couples plan as well.  This plan is $26.99/month and monitors the following list of items;

  • Social Security Monitoring
  • Online “Black Market” Monitoring
  • ID Verification Alerts
  • 3-Bureau Credit Monitoring
  • Credit Scores*
  • Identity Theft Victim Assistance
  • $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance**

I’ve reviewed all of the IdentityGuard services and compared them to other top monitoring plans from companies such as LifeLock, TransUnion, Experian and many more.  IdentityGuard is hands down the most comprehensive credit monitoring service provider on the market.  They offer the best value, highest customer satisfaction ratings, top BBB ratings and numerous awards for their protection & monitoring plans.  If you need a simple, affordable solution for monitoring multiple social security numbers, you’re not going to go wrong with the 2 IdentityGuard plans.

 

Avoiding Online Auction Fraud

Despite the increase in reports of cyber bulling through Facebook and other social media sites, the number one cybercrime that is reported is by far auction fraud. In particular, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has reported that they have especially seen an increase in auction fraud related to international car auctioning.

An auction that is run is internationally is one of the key signs that you are about to be tricked into giving a fraudster your money. Most of the time when a buyer falls for these tricks, the money is unrecoverable.

In some cases, this can be devastating, but there is nothing that the authorities can do. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is made up of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.

They reported that the reports of internet crime made up 62% of the all the complaints that were called in. Undelivered merchandise or payment, credit and debit fraud, check fraud, investment fraud, computer fraud, and confidence fraud were the other categories in which the IC3 received complaints.

This center also stated that the second thing people should watch out for besides international auctioneers is what is called a “second chance auctions.” Second chance auctions are auctions in which the auctioneer contacts the second runner up and tells them that the first buyer fell through and that they can now purchase the item.

Often, the auctioneer will request the buyer to transfer the money to them through an unreliable method. Buyers should only agree to transactions that take place through reliable methods such as an escrow service.

An escrow service is one through which the money is transferred to a third party who is trust worthy that will hold the money until the transaction is completed, upon which the money is given to the seller. The escrow service transfers the money based on pre-determined specifications.

There are several things you should keep in mind as you try to avoid online fraud. The first thing you should do is learn about online fraud.

Learn what kinds of things can give a fraudster away so that you can avoid giving your money to them. You will also want to learn how the auction works, what the rules are, what kind of regulations you must hold to as the buyer, and what the seller’s is responsible for.

These things are all vitally important to know before you bid. In addition, you will want to research the seller.

This is vital to avoiding fraud and you will do it thoroughly every time you consider a bid if you are serious about avoiding fraud. Sometimes the only information placed online by a bidder is his or her email address.

Send a message to the seller requesting more information. If the seller is not forthcoming, do not place a bid as the seller is almost for sure a fraudster.

If the seller happens to be a business, look up the business on the Better Business Bureau. In addition to reviewing the personal information on the seller, you should read the reviews on the seller.

If there are not very many reviews, even if the reviews are good, you probably will want to find another place to purchase the goods. The seller should have long history with 95% positive reviews for you to trust him or her enough to make the purchase.

Remember that even with these precautions, a fraudster can still manipulate the review system on occasion. Be wary and watch out for other signs that you are deal with a fraudster.

Next, you will want to check and see what kind of payment the seller is asking for. Remember that if it is not a reliable, traceable way of payment, you will want to find another way to make the purchase.

You will also want to look at the auction’s policies. Learn what the auction site does when problems arise and warranties are requested.

It is also good to know what their policy is on delivery times, exchanges, and defective merchandise. By the time you are done you should also have a thorough understanding of how shipping and delivery works and how much it costs.

The costs of shipping and delivery are often expensive and this cost is often a surprise to buyers. Do not let this cost be a surprise to you.

Take a proactive approach to keeping your identity safe from fraud, on and offline.  Read who we ranked as the top credit monitoring services this year and sign up for free 30 day identity monitoring & protection. Get free alerts when fraud or suspicious activity is detected so you can take action

Credit Monitoring Services Review

Credit monitoring services scrutinize a consumer’s credit report at one or all three credit bureaus for a monthly fee, alerting the consumer to late payment items, identity thefts, inquiries from potential creditors and employers, and any other credit report changes. The pros and cons of this service are fiercely debated. But there is much to be said for the advantages of employing a credit monitoring service. The consumer’s credit score is a number that extends into all aspects of an individual’s financial life; guarding that number and improving it can amount to large savings over a lifetime. And with finances being a rather complicated affair for most people, negative items and mistakes can appear on credit reports that can go under the radar of the less than attentive, and credit monitoring is an astute defense against identity theft. Furthermore, a credit monitoring service can be instrumental to the consumer in reaching the highest category of creditworthiness where the best financial terms are offered.

Necessary or unnecessary service

Critics of credit monitoring usually state that it is an unnecessary service since consumers can keep track of their own credit reports. They point out that a consumer can receive a free credit report staggered over the year from each of the three credit reporting bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—and become aware of any mistakes or problems which develop.

Following that track leaves many loopholes in credit monitoring where all sorts of problems can arise. As credit reports are known to be error prone,   negative items such as late payments and account mistakes can sabotage job prospects for employment seekers. Large charges to credit cards can lower credit scores at the most inopportune times, causing rate changes on new loan applications. Identity theft may be occurring with fraudulent new accounts opened up under the consumer’s name, when immediate notification to the consumer is the most urgent. Looking at each report only once a year leaves these gaps which can be costly to the consumer.

Credit monitoring is a superb educational tool to gaining greater insight to one’s financial affairs and as a result leads to greater abilities to manage those affairs. Monitoring one’s credit through a service will allow for immediate feedback to the consumer of results for car loans, mortgage loans, and credit card applications. The credit score numbers will fluctuate in response to additions and deletions in the report, educating consumers in ways to better manage their finances. Also, credit monitoring services offer many online resources to help the consumer expand their financial know how.

Saving money with credit monitoring

Most credit monitoring services will cost the consumer between $10 and $20 a month, adding up to $120 to $240 for the year. It might seem like a high cost, but when consumers consider the benefits of a service, it can actually save them money. The consumer is given the tools to improve his or her credit score, and the savings can be in the hundreds and thousands of dollars. With a credit score of 760 or better, the consumer will receive the best available interest rates. In the case of a mortgage over a period of 30 years, this can amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Also, car and life insurance rates are partially dependent on a consumer’s credit scores, where the impact will again be reflected in substantial savings if the credit score can be boosted into the excellent category. When all these benefits are considered over the financial lifetime of a consumer, identity theft protection reviews excellent value for a minuscule cost.

Credit monitoring and identity theft

With the rise of identity theft crimes every year and the proliferation of new ways to steal it, everyone agrees vigilance is definitely needed to protect against the illegal use of credit information. Critics of these services say credit monitoring does not stop identity theft, and they are right, since nothing can guarantee 100% protection against identity theft. What credit monitoring services offer is immediate alerts that something is amiss when new credit accounts or address changes have appeared. With this knowledge, the consumer can immediately put a fraud alert or a freeze on an account. So many ID thefts go on for weeks or even months because the consumer is unaware until he or she receives billing statements or other indications of wrongdoing long after they have occurred. ID thieves often change the victim’s address, so incriminating billing statements are redirected to another location. If the consumer becomes the victim of identity theft, most credit monitoring services provide insurance protection and legal services to help the consumer. All in all, credit monitoring is a top defense to guard the consumer’s interests against the illegal activities of criminals.