How the New Credit Card Microchips Protect You

Even if you don’t have one yet, you’ve probably seen the new credit cards that have a microchip on the front. These chips, officially called EMV Smart Chips (The EMV means “Europay, MasterCard and Visa”), provide users with a better layer of security than traditional credit card magnetic strips. They’re more secure because the chip and credit card reader talk to each other using encrypted data – old cards simply gave the data without protection. This makes chipped cards far more difficult for fraudsters to clone and they’re certainly a welcome technology for anyone looking to protect their identity and financial information.

It’s time to retire your swiping motion and get caught up on the insert – the credit card microchip EMV conversion mandate is upon us come Thursday, September 30.

If you do your banking with a major financial institution like Bank of America, Wells Fargo or Chase, there is a pretty good chance that you already have a microchip on your credit or debit card. Not only that, but you may have used the technology already while shopping at a major retail chain (Wal-Mart is where I first encountered one). Continue Reading at About Bill Pay

But unlike a simple magnetic strip, the chip interacts with the machine that is reading it, in order to encrypt the data and authenticate it more securely. In effect, the credit card and its reader have an encrypted conversation in order to ensure the credit card is valid, while a simple (that is, “dumb”) magnetic stripe merely recites your credit card number and expiration date to any machine that can read it. Continue Reading at

Avoiding Credit Card Chip Scams

Ironically, the new credit card security chips, which are supposed to keep your information even more secure from hackers and data breaches, has driven scammers to come up with new (& old) angles to steal your personal information.  While we all may be just a little safer using our cards at retail stores, criminals are using phishing emails which appear to be from legitimate banks.  The company logos, addresses and information all appear to be real.  The messages read to the effect, “Your card is on the way, but you need to update some information before you can start using it”.

They then ask you for your account numbers, passwords and other sensitive information that you definitely do not want to give out.  Don’t go for it!

Do not reply to the email.

Do not click on any links within the email

Your bank or credit card company will never ask you for this kind of information via email.  Keep your account numbers and online passwords secure and never give them to anyone you can’t 100% verify their identity.

This type of scam has been going on since the beginning of the internet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still an effective tool for identity thieves.  Stay aware.  Report any suspicious emails like this to your financial institutions immediately.  If you believe you’ve been a victim of one of these scams, immediately check your credit report and monitor your credit to ensure you haven’t had more information stolen than just your account numbers.


How Do Identity Thieves Find Their Victims

In his celebrated military treatise “The Art of War,” Sun-Tzu wrote about how understanding your enemy and yourself would ensure success in almost any scenario. And while he might happen to be talking to an audience worried about winning and waging wars, it is a principle that holds true in a number of other aspects of existence as well — perhaps not the least which is identity theft. The initial step in knowing the best way to guard your identity from offenders and fraud is understanding how and why you are susceptible in the first place, as well as the way in which thieves find their prey.

identity theft threatsAmong the greatest risk factors for discovering yourself in the sights of an id thief is your age. While years alone do not establish your susceptibility to idtheft — a a study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identified no more than a-1 percent variation in fraud charges filed by 20-year olds, 30-year olds, 40-year olds and 50-year olds — environmentally friendly and life-style variables that accompany each decade of your life can get you at a higher-risk for fraud.

Here are three demographics which are especially exposed to id thieves:

University students: In your teens and 20s, whilst in school, you have stepped right into an entirely new world of duty and independence. Sadly, many university students do not understand the extent of that duty until it is not too early. School-aged Americans are four-times more probably than another demographic to get their identities stolen because they’ve usually clean credit histories but no expertise with understanding that they are presumed to assess them or assessing them. University students do not help themselves both by sharing personally-identifying information about themselves freely on media platforms or leaving out private files in dorm rooms that are readily reachable.
Service members: There is a greater danger of the information falling into the incorrect hands and being used to perpetrate identity fraud since the armed forces uses private data like Social Security numbers to determine their servicemen as well as girls. In addition, research conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research identified that military personnel typically do not set Active Duty Alarms on their credit documents after they are deployed. Thus, their credit info is susceptible to fraud and abuse by pals and family members.

Senior Citizens: Their incidence of fraud is substantially higher, although less seniors fall victim to identity theft than other demographics. A lot more troubling is the fact that ID theft victims over the age of 55 are less probably than these younger than 55 to realize that their identities were stolen in any way! Telephone scams, phishing, tax frauds and health-related id fraud are one of the most common identity theft strategies employed against seniors.

But while these three people could be particularly at risk for id fraud, it is critical that proactive measures are taken by Americans of ages and occupations from the likelihood of larceny. While there is no bonded type of identity theft protection, there really are several common sense steps you could quickly adopt to mitigate your likelihood of becoming the most recent casualty.

One clever way of keeping ahead of identity thieves would be to join a credit monitoring service. This type of service send you alerts when specific action is discovered that could signal possible identity theft and will track your credit files.

The Common Types of Identity Theft

Today, identity theft is said to be the fastest growing crime in America. According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), stolen IDs were used for over thirty times before victims find out about it. This means that it may take up to 1 year before you become aware that your identity was stolen.

Anyone can be a victim of identity theft. Even if there are some pro-active steps you may consider, it is important to know the different common types of identity theft. In this way, you will be able to know the right steps that should be considered once your identity was stolen.

Below are the most common types of identity theft:

Medical Identity Theft

Thieves utilize your medical information when filing false compensation claims of workers, have surgeries like cosmetic surgeries, frequently to alter their looks to avoid being recognized for their past crimes. They also use your medical information to take advantage of Social Security benefits including false medical liability claims and phony disability claims, and to acquire medical steps done for legit health problems, yet get stuck with huge doctor and hospital’s bills.

Driver’s License Identity Theft

Every information on your stolen driver’s license gives your address, name, identity number, and date of birth. Thieves utilize this information when applying for credit cards, loans; buy cars, boats, homes, jewelry, stereo equipment, and anything of value. And the worst thing about this is that these are all charged to you. Majority of drivers’ licenses also have information about street addresses, which can be used by thieves when knowing where you live and might rob you or your home.

Social Security Identity Theft

Thieves may also obtain new Social Security cards to get Social Security benefits that you’ve worked all for your adult life. These may include HUD benefits, welfare benefits, dental and medical care, housing vouchers, and obtain false passports.

types of id theft

Financial Identity Theft

Even if there’s obviously overlap between such kinds of identity theft, this can completely and specifically involves a criminal posing. The reason behind it is that thieves may empty your bank account, remove valuables you have in your bank vaults, financial holdings, steal international or off-shore assets, and sell or buy pricey items including land, businesses, homes, cars, and apply for credit cards or loans for which you’ll be held accountable by some lenders who approved the accounts or loans in the first place.

Criminal or Character Identity Theft

Identity thieves can commit crimes as you. In fact, you could apply for jobs or get caught by police because of violating laws and regulations on the road and anywhere. You can also end up getting arrested because of a bank robbery or a murder that you know nothing about. With this, you might experience tough times convincing policemen that you are not the person who did it.

Knowing more about the different kinds of identity theft can help you find the best ways to resolve it. The good news about identity theft is that Federal Trade Commission has responded quickly on such new crimes as well as law enforcement is working closely with several government agencies for apprehending such criminals and prosecute all of them to the fullest extent of the law. In addition to that, there are also bills that were introduced. Plus, new laws are passed to help every identity theft victims and restore their good names and credits in a timely and much efficient manner.

For the meantime, the best way to avoid identity theft is to pay attention to your personal information closely and monitor it from time to time. You should also track your credit card and bank account statements. If possible, always get copies of your credit reports yearly or monitor it using a service like the credit report monitoring service. If you have documents that contain your personal information, don’t just throw them away on the trash. Cross-shed all your documents when throwing them on the trash.

There are other ways on how you can prevent yourself from various types of identity theft. Practicing them daily or considering these as part of your daily routine can help you save yourself from being a victim of any type of identity theft.

8 Ways You Can Prevent Identity Theft

Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

(Updated 1-6-2018)

Identity theft is a crime which affects millions of people from different parts of the globe. If you don’t want to be a victim of identity theft, you should know the best safety measures to protect yourself from this growing crime.

There are several tips you may take for consideration when avoiding identity theft and some of them are as follows:

Tip #1: Consider an Identity Theft Protection Service

Numerous companies offer credit monitoring services to help anyone protect themselves from identity theft. Such services are available at reasonable rates. Depending on your preferences, you can choose any identity theft service provider that offers top notch solutions.

Tip #2: Keep All Your Personal Documents in a Safe

If you have important documents, it is always a wise idea to keep a personal safe for your home and a safety deposit box anywhere. You may utilize your safe at home for protecting items including social security card, passport, and birth certificate.

Tip #3: Protect Your Wallet or Purse at All Times

If you are buying purses, choose the ones that can be closed shut or zipped. Try not to make use of bags that some can easily reach into or see. Also, keep bags close to your body with tight grip all the time. Don’t leave purses or wallets in the car and if possible, don’t leave these exposed and never keep them in an obvious place.

Tip #4: Photocopy Every Content of Your Wallet

It is also a good idea to make copies of your ID cards, credit cards, and other personal documents that you usually keep in your wallet. In addition to that, keep records of all phone numbers to contact in case you have to order replacement items or close accounts.

Tip #5: Remove Yourself from Any Promotional Lists

If you don’t want to end up with stolen identity, start removing yourself from promotional lists including pre-approved credit card and junk mail lists. This added clutter does not do any good. In fact, you just put yourself at risk of identity theft if the stranger gets their hands on pre-approved cards.

Tip #6: Examine All Your Bank Account Statements

If you want to ensure that your bank accounts are all safe, always examine all your bank account statements regularly. If you bank accounts have unauthorized charges, never hesitate to call your chosen bank immediately.

Tip #7: Never Reveal Personal Information to Unverified Sources

Regardless if it’s over the internet or the phone, don’t reveal personal information to any unverified sources. Never feel pressured to answer questions if you don’t trust the source. Also, feel free to make a request for verifying information before giving any information.

Tip #8: Shred All Sensitive Documents Before Throwing Them Away

Before throwing your personal documents, consider shredding them first. Dumpster diving is said to be a common way of stealing personal information. Buy shredders for your home or office and ensure that you destroy any paperwork that contain personal details before you discard them. This includes credit, statements, mail, and even receipts.

Considering those tips above can help you avoid identity theft. Implementing them on your daily routine will allow you to save your personal information from this growing crime.

Download the PDF of this article here Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

5 Simple Ways You Can Protect Your Credit

Protecting your credit from the harmful effects of identity theft, fraud, and errors is an essential consideration in the modern world, and there are several ways that you can make sure your personally identifying information is safe at all times. By being proactive with respect to your current credit report, you can address issues before they occur and ensure that your financial future has as good of an outlook as possible. Here are five ways you can keep your credit secure.

1. Shredding documents

Shredders are a cost-effective way to reduce the chances that identity thieves will find valuable information in your trash. A host of different thieves routinely comb through trash receptacles searching for your information that will be used to apply for loans with your name or get a credit card without your permission. Document shredders are designed to quickly turn old credit cards, bank information and junk mail into a pile of paperwork that is totally illegible. Making sure that your children are also safe is an imperative, and you can easily shred any papers that contain information about any of the members in your family.

2. Receiving free credit reports

Everyone is entitled to a review of their annual credit report from the three major credit reporting bureaus. Even if you’re used to checking your report on a regular basis, you can probably ensure security by receiving your report from each bureau every four months. By providing you with the details that let you dispute errors or prevent identity theft, you can take a positive step and work to make sure that your credit score is always as high as possible. Credit reports contain detailed information about any outstanding loans that have been issued in your name, and by regularly reviewing your credit score, you can be sure that nobody else is using your information to purchase goods or services.

3. Monitoring your credit score

With a host of different ways to make sure that you’re always aware of any changes in your credit history, you can also prevent most expensive damage from occurring. Several firms offer easy ways to keep up to date with your credit history by monitoring all related activity and make sure that you can easily note any errors and dispute transactions that were incurred without your knowledge.

4. Using fraud alerts

Credit fraud alerts are another way to make sure that nobody has access to your personal or commercial line of credit. The alerts are easily added to your credit report, and they are used to notify potential creditors and lenders about issues before they arise. Fraud alerts help to make sure lenders must verify your identification before they provide anyone with an open line of credit or a loan in your name.

5. Keeping your information safe

By working with trusted sites and vendors who have earned a stellar reputation, you can be sure that while you’re shopping on the Internet, your information is safe from prying eyes. Sites that are secure should have an “http,” at the top of the page. This means that the Web page is certified by a trusted company. In addition, you can look for icons that may be visible at the bottom of a page. Checking for information that is contained in reviews from other consumers allows you to gain a deeper understanding about the possibilities that a particular site is going to use your information to benefit from your outstanding credit history.

Keeping your credit secure is easier when you know the options that are at your disposal. By implementing the above five tips into your daily lifestyle, you can create a positive financial future.

What Are Credit Monitoring Services & How Do They Work?  

Many people make use of the credit monitoring services in order to be alerted to possible credit fraud and ultimately, reduce its negative effects on their finances. To ensure this level of protection, individuals to sign up for a service that will keep tabs on one or several of your major credit reports and notify you when there is a new account that is opened in your name, someone makes an inquiry to your file as well as when other possibly suspicious activities crop up. Most of the credit monitoring packages will also give you access to at least one of your credit scores and reports. For this reason, consumers usually make use of credit monitoring to keep track of their credit building progress.

Various companies are offering credit monitoring services which include the three primary credit bureaus as well as many of the major banks. It is not a big surprise that there is a big market for this kind of product since identity theft is becoming one of the most common complaints from consumers for many years.

Even though credit monitoring will not really prevent identity theft as well as other related loan or credit card loans, it still has the potential of alerting you regarding unauthorized access to your personal information before you start noticing a problem.

How It Works

Although logistics are basically provider specific, the credit monitoring services typically track your credit file and send your alerts when there are changes. Many of the companies are offering these notifications through a phone call, email, or text message, which depends on your preferences.

The forms of activities that credit monitoring services are going to bring to your attention include the following:

  • New Accounts

Credit reports note each time a new loan or credit card has been opened under your name. When there is a new account that appears on your file because of the mistake of the creditor or as the result of a fraudulent activity, it is better to know about it right away instead of waiting until you receive a bill through mail.

  • Hard Inquiries

Every time you apply for a loan or credit card, the respective financial institution is going to pull your main credit reports, which are referred to as a hard inquiry to your credit history. Any unexpected hard inquiry, like the ones that are not triggered by your application submission, is a sure sign of fraud. The identity thieves are well known for the use of the basic consumer data include the name, address and the Social Security number for opening financial accounts under the names of other people for them to rack up the costly charges and leave it up to the user to clean up the mess they did.

  • Changes to the Existing Accounts

You will also receive an alert when your credit report indicates a significant change in your payment and spending habits.

  • Changes in Address

A criminal who has the basic biographical information and access to one of your debit or credit cards can officially make changes to the address that you have on your file with the postal service so that they will receive your mail and have better control on your life. Most of the credit monitoring services are going to alert you about this kind of changes so that can easily straighten out the matter before things can get further complicated.

  • New Public Records

The information regarding bankruptcies, civil court judgments and tax liens is included on the consumer credit reports and while everyone will hope to spot an identity theft before it can even get this far, the credit monitoring service is going to alert you once someone encounters these forms of difficulties while still impersonating you.

The credit monitoring service is also going to notify you regarding these changes in a matter of 24 hours after they have noted your credit report, which will then fulfill its role as your official identity theft watchdog. As soon as you discover about the possible identity theft, it will be so much better so that you can also initiate the right damage control procedures before the fraud will wreak too much havoc on your financial files.

For the past few years, the companies have also come up with identity theft solutions which as far more comprehensive as compared to what you can get from the traditional services on credit monitoring. For instance, they might also monitor any sex offender registry, activities on your bank account, applications for payday loans, and more. The advent of this kind of services only underscore that there is indeed a growing concern among the consumers when it comes to identity theft in today’s personal financial environment that is becoming more electronic than ever.

The capacity of tracking the progress in credit improvement is also the other primary benefit that you can get out of the use of a credit monitoring service. These services will also provide you with better access to all your credit reports as opposed to just receiving one copy each year and possibly, you might also receive your credit scores at the same time. Most of the monitoring companies usually offer deals with certain credit score providers even though the scores that they will provide are not guaranteed to be the ones that are being used most often by the lenders. This will not just give you the chance of routinely parsing your files for any error for at the same time, this will also allow you to stay updated with your credit standing which will then improve how you are shopping for financial products and determine if the credit building efforts are needed.

As of this moment, some of the major players in the world of credit monitoring include TransUnion, Equifax, Experian, FICO which is a credit scoring company, most of the largest banks of the nation as well as niche businesses including Identity Guard, LifeLock and TrustedID.

Credit monitoring services are no doubt important to keep track of your finances so choose the one that will best suit you.

How Do Identity Theft Protection Services Work  

In this day and age, even the major retailers are the target of hackers and security flaws on the net. Without a doubt, identity theft has now become a major threat for both big and small business operations. This is the reason why there are now more and more providers of identity theft protection services on the rise.

But are these services worth it? And how to these work in the first place? Will identity theft protection services really give the protection that you need?

In reality, identity theft protection services don’t completely prevent your identity from being stolen. Simply put, these services are not entirely proactive in safeguarding your identity. However, some of the better services do have proactive measures such as daily web scanning to find any potential cases of data breach, where your personal information may be available for public view. Companies such as provide deep web scanning, which monitors areas of the web where credit cards, social security numbers and full identity profiles are sold & traded.  With this in mind, choosing to subscribe to a daily identity protection plan is just one more piece of the puzzle that you should employ to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

Your Information Is a Target For Theft

There are several primary reasons why the identity thieves are targeting your personal information:

  • To use your credit card illegally
  • To open new lines of credit in your name
  • To take a loan with the use of your identity
  • To access your bank accounts and steal money directly

The identity theft services are going to ensure that possible changes in your account are going to be clearly reflected in your credit report. The protective services are going to instantly alert you once they detected suspicious activities for you to take the necessary action right away.

Regular Monitoring of Your Finances

Through the proper supervision of your credit report, the identity protecting services are going to alert you of unusual activities. But, it is not always that easy to catch the fraudulent activities only through the monitoring of your credit report. This is why there are a lot of protecting services offering to monitor some of the other financial activities that include your card purchases and bank accounts. Also, they search for any loan or credit applications that are taken under your name.

Monitoring of Personal Information

Supervising your personal financial activities is amazing to start with. However, the most dependable identity theft protection services also need to supervise all your personal information including your social security number. It is to make sure that your social security number will not be used without your consent. Take note that the best provider of identity theft service is going to offer supervision of as many things possible for you. There are also those that will supervise even the medical record, the public records and unauthorized use of driver’s license or change in address.  Essentially credit monitoring services keep track of your full identity and personal information, so you don’t have to.

Anti-Virus & Keystroke Encryption

The best providers should also guard you against any cases of hacking, a method commonly used by the identity thieves to snatch your personal information. The id protection companies should give you security software for safeguarding your personal computer against cases of hacking. Security software might also come with encrypted logins for anti-key logging applications, safe banking, anti-malware & shareware protection.

Trusted Identity Protection Companies

The majority of reliable service providers offer the basic monitoring services that include those items mentioned above, such as financial monitoring, credit report monitoring, monitoring of social security numbers and public records. There are also companies that go well beyond to protect you from falling prey to identity theft.

Having said this, I rank the following 3 identity theft protection services as the best choices you can go with for comprehensive identity monitoring.  I’ve thrown in a 4th, free option as well, but I will always recommend going with a quality paid service over the freebie id protections services.

Identity Guard

identity guard privacy bannerIdentity Guard is another wonderful alternative if you would like your name and personal information monitor against all forms of identity theft. The service’s highlight is the exclusive lost wallet protection. It can be very beneficial for the regular travelers or for those who are always on the move most of the time. Identity Guard is also offering an insurance coverage against fraudulent activities. The customers will also get security suite which can be installed in both personal computers and mobile devices. Thanks to its all around protection capabilities, the company holds an outstanding customer satisfaction record and untarnished reputation.



lifelock identity protectionFor people who are keen when it comes to building credit scores and tracking their progress, LifeLock is the best choice. LifeLock is among the few services that allow monthly updates of the credit score. Aside from its basic identity theft protection services, the company monitors various other information that include the unauthorized use of driver’s license and address change. The service can also automatically unsubscribe the users from all the junk emails. The users can also get a trial for 30 days so that they can choose to opt out any time they do not like the services.



identity force bannerIdentityForce is also a good choice if you are searching for an affordable and comprehensive identity theft program for both your family and your home. This also comes with an additional Child Watch features. A great deal for those who have big households, the service provider will check the user’s financial accounts, social security number and financial information. There is also a 14-day trial period and you can also test their service before committing to it.


Credit Sesame

credit sesameFor those who are reluctant in revealing the details of your credit card, Credit Sesame is a good choice. In the field of identity theft protection, it is unusual for service providers to offer 100% free protection services but Credit Sesame can do this all for you. The company will update the credit scores every month, and changes are transparent and evident to the user. They also actively check for any suspicious activities. While Credit Sesame does not provide everything that the other companies do, it will be best to look for a free and simple identity theft protector.

There are many identity theft protection services available.  Make sure you choose one that meets your needs as well as fits your monthly budget.

Real World Identity Theft Protection Methods

Identity theft happens so frequently that FBI considered it as the fastest growing crime issue in America. Thieves fraudulently use and steal the addresses, names, SSNs, credit card numbers, bank account information, and some personal information of millions of individuals every year. To avoid identity theft, learning how those thieves get your personal information is the very first step you should take to protect yourself.

When it comes to corporate world, thieves make headlines by breaking into huge consumer databases and get numerous names in the form of data breaches. It may also occur from the inside as there are insiders who might use an access of an employer to credit reporting information to obtain personal data or acquire information directly from the trash or files of the employer. Employees can be also bribed or conned by outsiders to steal information.

identity theft protectionIn terms of personal level, identity theft is a bit less publicized once it occurs to an individual, yet the number of ways that identity theft may occur on this level is distressing. The simplest way involves stealing your wallet or digging your trash. Identity theft may also be as easy and simple as peering over anyone’s shoulder as they utilize an ATM machine. Other sophisticated methods include targeting information of the deceased by using obituaries, diverting or stealing your mail, as well as getting bank account or credit card information through skimming, which is a high-tech theft who uses a particular electronic device when stealing information from your bank account or credit card.

Generally, skimming happens once your credit card is used when making a purchase and the one who processes your card may use a skimmer to get personalized access information. Skimmers are also found on ATMs. Aside from skimming, phishing is also one of the widely publicized methods of personal ID theft. Phishers steal information by creating a website that appears to be very similar to a reliable enterprise’s site and send emails out to lure anyone to enter their contact information. Then, thieves will use the information in any way they want.

What Happens Once Your Identity Was Stolen?

When identity thieves steal your personal information, they become you through assuming your financial identity. Criminals who are less sophisticated consider spending spree using your credit cards and sometimes open new credit cards in your name, establishing cell phone accounts, and writing checks.

Thieves who are experienced and more sophisticated will do more than spending your money by using your name or full identity to do anything they need or want. They will get personal identification including a driver’s license and utilize it when taking out car loans, opening bank accounts or filing for bankruptcy to avoid eviction from an apartment or a house. They can also use your personal date to make payments. So, what’s the best defense you can do to avoid it?

Tip: Identity theft protection services monitor thousands of data points to spot any possible signs of identity theft or fraud.  Consider signing up for a plan and letting them keep tabs on your credit.  It will save you time and give you peace of mind.

Avoiding Identity Theft

Though high-profile hackings of corporate databases may suggest that no one is safe from identity theft, there are several precautions that can reduce the odds of being victimized. One of these is to protect your SSN or Social Security Number, which is a critical part of personal information. Never print it on any kind of personal identification. Don’t print it on your checks and only use it when needed. Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet and avoid utilizing your SSN as your personal identifier if possible. Even if medical clinics, colleges, employers, and some entities often require your SSN, better think twice before you give it. You never know who will access to your information.

Another way of protecting yourself from identity theft is by protecting your mail. You can do this by reducing the amount of unsolicited offers. When you are on a vacation, cancel mail delivery. If you don’t, your mails can be a tempting target of thieves. Outgoing mails also need protection. When writing a mail and a check to your credit card company, never include information that’s complete enough for someone to utilize. You may only write your account number’s last 4 digits and your credit card company will be the one to identify you.

The Bottom Line

Being an identity theft victim can be devastating not only because your money will be stolen, but also your name can be used in crimes. Identity thieves are skilled when searching for targets. Because of this, it is always wise to be knowledgeable and more alert when protecting yourself.

What is Child Identity Theft and How Can It Be Prevented

Did you know that children are even more vulnerable than adults when it comes to identity theft? Thirty five times more likely in fact. This year alone, 1 in 10 children under the age of 18 will have their identity stolen, yet most parents rarely consider this potential threat.  The unblemished credit report of a child is a perfect target for identity thieves who can do an unlimited amount of damage with a new, fresh credit history.  This is why parents need to be more diligent about protecting the credit of their young children now.

Thieves take over the identity of a child early on, nurture it until they get a solid credit score. They then proceed to abuse and discard it. If this fraud is not discovered by the parents in a timely manner, the fraudulent use of the child’s identity could mean the future loss of educational funding, denial of home and auto loans, as well as lost job opportunities. They will be left with no choice but to start off their adulthood at a serious financial disadvantage, because their credit had been destroyed years before they even needed it.

Child identity theft is not a new phenomenon, even in the technologically advanced world we live in today.  It’s been going on for decades actually. As parents, it is your sole responsibility to protect the integrity of your kids credit rating. Here are some things that you can do to protect your child and keep their identities secure until they are old enough to manage it themselves.

Social Security Number Protection

Paperwork, whether at school, the doctor’s office or for the extracurricular activities will often ask for social security number. Before you give the number of your child, confirm if it is really necessary. If not, do not give it. It’s a rare occasion that anyone will truly need their SSN.  Question their reason for asking before just handing over the number. Refrain from carrying around the Social Security number or card of your child and destroy documents containing the number.

Educate Your Kids

Make sure that you also educate your kids regarding the importance of keeping their number as a secret and see to it that they know that they should not share their social security number, phone number or address on any social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter etc.  Oversharing of sensitive information is one of the easiest ways for identity thieves to get enough information to begin causing real credit damage . It doesn’t take long and it can be difficult to detect the initial fraud, because most parents generally don’t check their young child’s credit report often…if ever.

Look for Warning Signs

Does your child suddenly receive unusual mail, like credit card applications? This is a solid sign that there is something wrong with your child’s credit. When you notice something out of the ordinary like this it’s time to do some investigating.. If it turns out that your child is a victim of identity theft, take the necessary steps right away to help limit and stop the fraud from continuing.

Consider Freezing Their Credit

Not all states allow parents to proactively freeze their children’s credit before an identity theft incident has occurred.  However more states are beginning to allow this practice.  By freezing their credit, you prevent any creditor from accessing their credit report with TransUnion, Equifax or Experian.  Not will this prevent lines of credit being opened in the child’s name, but it won’t even let a credit inquiry be placed on their credit report.  You can check with each of the 3 credit bureaus about placing an extended credit freeze in your state.

Equifax 1-800-525-6285
Experian 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion [email protected]

Monitor the Credit of Your Child

To closely monitor your child’s credit, a credit report is not really needed. In fact, your child may not even have a credit report at all. What you should do instead is to inquire at the three major credit bureaus and see if a report exists on your child. If there is an existing credit report, it is a sign that the identity of your child has been stolen and you need to contact the authorities right away. See to it that you do not order the credit report of your child because this will unnecessarily open the credit report on them.

Here at SIF, we are big proponents of credit monitoring services.  Not because they help prevent identity theft, because they in fact don’t. Nothing can prevent it entirely. However, a quality credit monitoring plan will alert you if if your identity has been stolen.  Being alerted that fraud is taking place gives you the opportunity to investigate and stop it from becoming an even larger problem.  The best part is that companies like LifeLock and IdentityGuard have features that allow you to monitor your child’s social security number, along with yours. The monthly subscription generally cost less than $25.00, so they are worth looking into.

Never Advertise the Name of Your Child

A lot of people have those cute family decals placed on the back of their cars showing the number of the people in the family, their genders and at times, even their names. When you do this, parents unsuspectingly give the criminals some valuable information. There are even some families that put up signs in the yards that congratulate their child for the high school graduation. Not only will criminals know the name of their child but at the same time, they will know his or her place of residence. It can also put the child at risk for more of serious crimes than just identity theft

Final Words

Protecting the identity of your child should be your number one responsibility as a parent. Once their identity has been stolen, there’s no going back.  There’s a good chance that their credit is going to be ruined way before they are old enough to need it. And this can be a very difficult obstacle to overcome as young adult. Start taking your child’s identity as seriously as you would your own.  They’ll thank you for it later.

Identity Theft of the Dead

Most people realize that identity theft is a growing concern. And as with the majority of issues in life, we naturally suppose that identity theft ceases being a concern after we die. Sadly, offenders do not quit stealing identities simply because their intended victim has passed away. Friends and families can be haunted by these crimes, long after their loved one has passed, leaving the weight of solving the thievery and coping with their own grief.

Ralph Lee Guttormsen resided for several years in Monterey, Ca, with his room mate, Robert Sterling. From medical issues, Sterling passed away in 2002 and Guttormsen chose to assume his id. Along with his friend’s driver licence, he took cash from the bank accounts of Sterling, utilized credit cards and cashed checks. The scam went on for four years, largely because Guttormsen was cautious about never opening new accounts in Guttormsen’s name, which may have alerted the police to his crimes.

That isn’t the only kind of identity theft that can affect the dead. Many burglars scan paper obituaries for the names of people who have recently passed, which they subsequently link to the Social Security numbers (SSN) of other persons, living or lifeless. The newer identity is hard to monitor since it pulls information from a lot of non related sources

What exactly are you able to do to guard the identification of a recently departed friend or relative? Here are several suggestions:

Death certificates: Request several duplicates of the death certificate. When working with authorities, this file will most likely be needed.

Documenting: Instantly begin a log of accounts and financing. Otherwise the responsibility falls to the executor of the estate. For those how have hired a lawyer, they are able handle this for you. Ensure personal items and all files are arranged and accounted for. Specialists indicate that physical records should be stored safely, and only accessible by specific people, to ensure the information does not fall into the wrong hands.

Credit reviews: Request copies of credit history from all the three credit reporting agencies. The requirements to get this file subsequent to the account holder’s death differ from agency to bureau. For instance, Equifax requests a letter of testamentary in the probate court a duplicate of the death certificate along with a duplicate of picture identification of the person receiving the credit history.

Notify lenders: Promptly tell all lenders of the departure, utilizing a death certificate to confirm the man’s passing. The listing of lenders are available on the credit history.

Social Security benefits: Call the Social Security Administration and petition a benefits declaration to examine. This record will allow you to will find out if some one is utilizing SSN or your beloved’s name file or to perform taxation.

Prevent over-sharing: There is no need to propagate the word-of the passing too much. Media, because burglars and prevent obituaries will probably be searching for any chance to collect info.
No one wants the additional weight of coping with identity theft after the passing of someone you care about. Be sure to take these measures to help make sure that your dearly departed will not fall victim to identity theft.

Medical Identity Theft: The Forgotten ID Theft Crime

There remain ways where we continually leave ourselves susceptible, even as we learn more about the importance of identity theft protection. Most people only realize that medical identity theft is a crime after they have become a victim of it.

Based on Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Fifth-Annual Research on Medical Identity-Theft the quantity of medical identity theft episodes increased by 21.7% between 2013 and 2014. The Medical Identity Fraud Alliance identified that 2.3 million Americans were the victims of medical identity theft in 2014, with damages totaling more than $20 billion. 20 percent of sufferers found while a third lost their health insurance that their credit scores endured because of the larceny. The findings of Ponemon indicate that around 65% of identity theft victims that are medical pay a mean of $13,500 merely to solve the offense.

Medical identity theft is a dangerous offense, although not merely as it may cost victims fiscally. In addition, it places lives at risk, in many different manners. Anndorie Sachs discovered out this first hand, when she received a telephone call. Her newborn infant have been tested positive for prohibited substances as well as the Utah Division of Child and Family Solutions was prepared to set through paper work to consider guardianship of Sachs’ kids. Authorities were at her doorway, the following day.

Sachs, nevertheless, hadn’t had a child lately. Her youngest was two years of age. But a couple of miles away Dorothy Bell Moran, another girl, had given birth to a newborn infant using Sachs’ identification. She’d walked from the hospital right after having a baby, therefore down utilizing the I D she’d supplied the hospital tried to track her, and then be led to Anndorie Sachs rather.

Moran left a $10,000 bill and a lengthy battle to establish to Sachs that she was harmless., and had employed a stolen driver’s license in the hospital

Such situations are not all that casualties of identity theft that is medical have to worry about. Based on fraud specialist Chris Dorn, medical ID theft frequently leads to health records being changed, with criminals so care can be received by them altering advice.

“Unintentionally, your blood-type may be altered, your medicines that you are on may be altered, your underlying health conditions could be altered,” he advised CBS.

As Sachs wondered, after her ordeal, “Am I going to possess some crisis some day and I am likely to appear in the hospital plus they’re likely to give me the incorrect blood type simply because they nevertheless have her blood-type in the documents? I simply do not feel secure anymore.”

The good thing is, you will find precautions people can take to reduce their danger of becoming casualties of identity theft that is medical:

Shield health care records with the maximum amount of vigilance as you’d your credit card or bank info. Shred files which are not desired or out of date.
Read your explanation-of-gains statements from health care suppliers line-by line to be sure all the info is exact.
Demand that hospitals and practices whether or not they share your details with some other organizations and they use your advice, what protections have been in place to maintain data safe.
Eventually, be sure to test your credit history often. Enrolling in a credit monitoring service might help also. These providers notify you when particular action happens on your own credit files that may indicate fraud.