How To Freeze Your Credit Report

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Placing a freeze on your credit report is one of the initial steps you should take if you discover you are the victim of identity theft.  This temporary freeze prevents the information in your credit file from being reported to companies, credit grantors etc.  The short version is that nobody can run a credit inquiry and see your credit report.  This prevents further fraudulent accounts from being opened with your social security number and personal identifiable information.

Only the individual who’s social security number is attached to that credit file can request a temporary credit freeze or a temporary lift of the credit freeze.  Keep in mind that you will not be able to apply for new lines of credit, loans or mortgages while the freeze is in place, so you will need to plan ahead if you know that a creditor may need to pull your credit report in the near future.

When submitting for a credit report freeze, you must do so with ALL 3 CREDIT BUREAUS.  Equifax, Experian & TransUnion.  Additionally, if you wish to temporarily remove the freeze, you must again request the lift with all 3 bureaus.  After you freeze your credit files, it will be necessary to monitor your credit reports over the next several weeks & months, to ensure no new fraudulent accounts were reported before you set the security freeze.

You Can Learn More About How To Freeze Your Credit Report at FTC.gov

Do You Really Need RFID Blocking Wallet?

Buying a wallet used to be a relatively simple decision.  You had your choice of a bifold, trifold, credit card sleeve or maybe just a money clip.  Now if you flip through tech or gadget magazine, you’ll find a whole new genre of wallets that are designed with RFID blocking protection. Like this one from Common Fibers and Billetus  RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) blocking wallets are, in theory, made to shield your smart cards from identity thieves who use a cheap, handheld RFID scanners to “skim” your card information from a distance.  Once they’ve downloaded your card information, they create a new card with your card number and details. That’s when the real damage starts, because the new cards read just like a legitimate credit card and credit card scanners can’t tell the difference.  The criminals can do all of this from several feet away, without you even knowing it’s happening.

With frightening reality in mind, do you really need an RFID blocking wallet?  Do they even work as advertised?  To some extent they may offer a level of protection, however not all of these wallets work as well as others. Testing by Consumer Reports and others have shown that some of the RFID blocking wallets on the market work about as well as wrapping your credit cards in a layer of aluminum foil..but others may have some merit.

It’s also not certain whether the threat of RFID skimming is occurring often enough to truly be a concern for most people.  There have been very few reported cases of RFID skimming crimes and for good reason.  There are simpler and more effective ways of stealing peoples personal information and money.

RFID technology has improved significantly since it’s inception.  Early versions would transmit sensitive information unencrypted, including credit card numbers.  However, according to the major credit card companies, the latest RFID payment systems are extremely secure and now use full data encryption.  Nevertheless, RFID technology may be dying a slow death as card companies begin the transition to cards with EMV chip and PIN technology, which are considerably less susceptible to remote skimming.  EMV cards do not transmit a radio frequency signal, so an RFID wallet isn’t going to do much good with these new cards.

Even if you make the switch to all EMV based credit cards, you may still be transmitting an RFID signal from your drivers license or passport.  Luckily, the only information anyone is likely to steal is your name and physical address.  Even if compromised, this basic information isn’t likely to make you a fraud or identity theft victim.  If you fancy yourself as a wannabe James Bond or you’re just a little on the paranoid side, an RFID wallet may be a wise purchase.  However, chances are you’ll be ok without one.

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

Is Using Facebook a Risk to Your Identity?

Facebook has revolutionized the way individuals feel and communicate their ideas. Through status messages, photographs, links and other kinds of posts, individuals of all ages are now able to speak what’s on their mind and reach hundreds, if not thousands of people. Though this might be of some benefit, regrettably, this is a perfect way for criminals and identity thieves to gain access to private information and sensitive data. Identity theft on social media sites like Facebook is now uncontrolled and increasing annually

This information can be used by criminals to open credit lines in your name, because stealing of information occurs through such social-networking sites. They are able to commit these types of offenses: go on a shopping spree, take-out a mortgage, or purchase a car using credit cards in your name. I.D. theft can occur to you personally via your social networking websitea and induce issues for you months and possibly even years later on. Here are a few things you are able to do in order to counter these identity theft strikes.

Secure Your Private Information

FB frequently asks for your own personal information online including your name, address, phone, birth date, and in some rare cases, youSocial Security number and account numbers. Be skeptical of giving away that type of information on social media, since it’s possible that the information could be intercepted and used fraudulently. FB enables you to really set your security settings so you can manage who sees your profile.

Don’t Show Revealing Photographs

Additionally don’t actually put up a photograph of any sort of ID – student , driver’s licence and social security. There’s a single narrative of a man who, after seeing the grave of his own mother, posted a photograph of the tombstone on FB, providing would-be robbers the complete name of his own mother that’s frequently utilized as a protection measure by charge card businesses and lenders. This is really something you ought to never do- enabling felons to figure out your mom’s maiden name.

Use Strong Passwords

Passwords can be hard to recall particularly if you want to possess different passwords for each website that you simply go to. It’s significant to avoid ID Theft on social media websites to produce strong passwords. A strong password is a mix of specific characters, letters and figures, one that the thief might have a difficult time guessing. Among the passwords is really a mix of both lower and upper-class letters. Some specialists within the area advocate putting in numbers within the center of the password rather than in the start or in the end. Remember that in order to truly have a powerful password, the more it’s, the harder it’s for crooks to unearth. Lastly despite all these, use passwords which are simple to recall also – not just only your birth date or your daughter’s birth date, or an old address.

Review Your Credit File Often

It’s significant that you simply review your credit history regularly so that you simply will learn whether there are uncommon and funny activities in your credit file. You can track your credit file by ordering them in the three credit agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union). You may order these once yearly free of charge or better – subscribe to periodic reports or credit monitoring.

Identity Theft Statistics Paint a Frightening Picture

When you are con­sid­er­ing whether or not to pur­chase an iden­tity theft pro­tec­tion plan, prob­a­bly the first bit of research you will do is check iden­tity theft sta­tis­tics. They give you an idea of just how vul­ner­a­ble you really are before you choose your cov­er­age. Some will tell you that you don’t need iden­tity theft pro­tec­tion but when you look at the sta­tis­tics, the facts tell you oth­er­wise. Agen­cies such as the Iden­tity Theft Resource Cen­ter (ITRC) based in San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia and Javelin Strat­egy & Research based in Pleasan­ton, Cal­i­for­nia con­duct stud­ies to col­lect these statistics.

Do the Sta­tis­tics Cre­ate the Need?

After exam­in­ing all of these alarm­ing sta­tis­tics, the ques­tion remains: Do you need iden­tity theft pro­tec­tion? You will have to admit that the num­bers are not small. Con­sider also that these days we con­duct a large por­tion of our finan­cial trans­ac­tions on the inter­net and most all of use ATMs. Can you really afford to be exploited by an iden­tity theft? How much expense are you will­ing to go through to fix the dam­age done? And, after it’s all fixed, what if it hap­pens again? Unless you’re an expert in iden­tity theft and fraud detec­tion, do you really know what to look for? As you exam­ine the sta­tis­tics that fol­low, keep these ques­tions at the fore­front of your mind.

Sta­tis­tics Related to Incidence

Accord­ing to a study done by Javelin in 2010, the instances of iden­tity theft were sum­ma­rized into a chart. It is no sur­prise that the high­est occur­rence of these crime inci­dents were related to mak­ing pur­chases either online or in per­son. Here is what they found.

In-person pur­chases – 42%

Online pur­chases – 42%

Mail/phone pur­chases – 21%ATM with­drawals – 10%

Writ­ing checks – 10%

Gift cards, pur­chase attempts, bill pay, obtain­ing a new credit card, obtain­ing health care, in-person cash with­drawal – less than 7%
As you can see, if you use a credit card either online or in-person, you are at more than a 4 in 10 chance of becom­ing an iden­tity theft vic­tim. Those odds are rather high. In 2007, the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice esti­mated that 6.6% or 7.9 mil­lion house­holds had at least one mem­ber who was a vic­tim of this crime. While this sta­tis­tic makes the odds a lit­tle bet­ter, con­sider that com­pared to 2005, it was a 23% increase. The Depart­ment of Jus­tice also reported in 2007 that 30% of house­holds had at least $500 stolen from them due to an iden­tity theft inci­dent. Can you really afford to lose $500 or more?

Sta­tis­tics after the Crime

Just using your credit card online puts you at a 40% greater risk of being a vic­tim of iden­tity theft.

Sta­tis­tics after the crime are related to how long it takes for a per­son to real­ize he or she is a vic­tim. Credit mon­i­tor­ing ser­vices reduce the lull time between the crime and dis­cov­ery of it. Accord­ing to Javelin, a lit­tle under half (48%) of the total reported iden­tity theft inci­dents were dis­cov­ered by the vic­tims. This indi­cates that 4-5 out of 10 peo­ple are mon­i­tor­ing there credit files or state­ments and report­ing when some­thing looks out of place. Yet this fig­ure still indi­cates that the other half of the pop­u­la­tion is not mon­i­tor­ing their infor­ma­tion at all. Not mon­i­tor­ing could mean that it could take months to years to detect after sig­nif­i­cant dam­age has taken place.

The impor­tance of reg­u­lar mon­i­tor­ing of your credit file is crit­i­cal for timely action when the crime occurs.

What it all Costs

What is really dis­turb­ing as shown by iden­tity theft sta­tis­tics is the ris­ing costs to con­sumers for this type of crime. Javelin pub­lished a chart com­par­ing 2006 con­sumer mis­ap­pro­pri­ated funds to the same cat­e­gory for 2010. It is alarm­ing to find a total of $176,397 mis­ap­pro­pri­ated funds com­pared to the 2006 total of $75,000. It shows a 234% increase in what this crime costs to consumers.

Now that you know some of the stats, isn’t it time you got some pro­tec­tion?  To select a credit monitoring plan, read our review of the top 10 monitoring companies.

A Comprehensive Explanation of Identity Theft

Identity theft can occur in many different forms and may affect one’s life in numerous ways. The most familiar and common form is financial identity theft.

Everyone has an interest in protecting their identity. However, when protecting your personal information, you should not just protect your credit. Whether you realize it or not, you are also protecting your medical records, criminal records, business assets, and your whole identity. For you to know and understand how important it is to protect yourself, it’s vital to understand the extent of this growing crime and the ways this can affect your life.

Identity theft may be divided into 5 main categories, which include criminal identity theft, commercial identity theft, financial identity theft, medical identity theft, insurance identity theft and ID cloning.

Financial Identity Theft

Identity-Theft-And-Credit-CardThis happens when criminals use an individual’s information including their name, address, birth date or SSN to commit financial fraud. Using the right information, thieves may obtain loans and credit cards, write bad checks, open accounts, establish phone service, withdraw money or make purchases like buying a car or a house. In terms of credit theft, thieves could use your existing credit card account wherein they can make changes on your billing address so that any unauthorized charges may go unnoticed for a long time. Using your name, criminals may also open new cards. More often than not, victims of credit card fraud are not aware of unauthorized accounts until they started reviewing their report several months later.

In financial identity theft, the costs can be difficult to overcome and may be long lasting. Even when financial losses are small, affected parties may need to wait for years for recover a good credit score and may have difficulties in getting approval for mortgages and loans.

Criminal Identity Theft

This kind of identity theft happens when thieves use a person’s name to hide or commit from crimes, file tax returns, acquire employment, and many more. Criminal identity can also occur during an arrest where criminals can provide your innocent personal information to the policemen. Oftentimes, criminals get identification with the name of their victims and present this to the law enforcement. If they have a trial and don’t show during the court date, the warrant for arrest will be addressed into the name of the victim. This may also affect their employment opportunities. This may happen when potential employers run a background check and finds criminal activities that victims weren’t even aware of.

ID Cloning

This happens when imposters live their entire lives using another identity like one’s name and SSN or every information about the victim. In several cases, imposters will even tell one’s life story as if it were there’s. Other times, cloned individuals are deceased. To detect this kind of identity theft is the multiple addresses used under your name.

When compared to other types of identity theft, ID clothing can be frightening and damaging. The reason behind it is that if imposters are successful, this may affect you each aspect of your life, which could affect your criminal, medical, and financial records.

Medical Identity Theft

This occurs when a thief uses the victim’s personal information to get medical services or products without his or her consent. Not only it can affect financially, it can also result in erroneous information that can be inputted into the medical history or files of a person. As results of medical identity fraud, victims might find themselves being denied when taking advantage of their health coverage or may experience sudden increase on their premiums. It may also result to inappropriate treatment and misdiagnosis. Among the forms of identity theft, medical identity theft can be the hardest to repair because of the limited resources available and rights of the victims on this crime.

Commercial Identity Theft

This kind of identity theft may occur in various ways. Criminals can open or establish a business using someone’s name or any personal information. They may also use private business details to access accounts, get loans, and make unauthorized transactions. Criminals can also target a business, clients of the business, and employees of the business. If the damage is serious, this could result to anything that might damage one’s reputation to bankruptcy.

Don’t put yourself at risk of becoming an identity theft victim.  Take steps to prevent it before it happens.  This includes changing the way you share information online, having more secure passwords, and monitoring your credit with an identity protection service.