identity theft prevention

identity theft preventio

identity theft prevention

Identity theft prevention services do not exactly prevent identity theft. They simply make it much harder for thieves to use the personal information they have stolen, thereby protecting you against many of the techniques identity thieves use.

We give away personal information all the time. Any time you write a check at the store, charge airline tickets, rent a car, mail your tax returns, change cell phone service providers, or apply for a credit card you are giving away bits of personal information, such as your bank and credit card account numbers, your Social Security number and your name, address, and phone number. These bits and pieces are a treasure trove to an identity thief. Once thieves have this information, they can use it without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft.

For example, identity thieves can take your personal information to redirect your financial data, such as bank and credit card statements, to prevent you from noticing that your existing credit card or bank account is being used without your knowledge. Identity theft prevention services prevent this from happening. This doesn't mean, of course, that a thief couldn't have charged things on a stolen credit card, only that you would know about it sooner...assuming you check your monthly statements.

Protection services also prevent new accounts from being set up by identity thieves in your name. This protection is important because the only way you would know this had happened was when you began to be harassed by collection agencies or when you try to get credit, only to find your credit rating has been trashed.

Identity theft prevention services also help you should the thieves be successful, in that they will help you with the police regarding warrants as well as assist you with getting collection agencies to stop harassing you for debts that aren't yours.

If you think that you don't need these services because, after all, if you report your credit cards stolen, you won't get charged for the bogus charges, think again. Identity thieves don't just use credit cards. They can set up new cell phone accounts in your name. They can take out a car loan in your name. They can give your name should they be arrested then, when they don't show up at court, a warrant is issued in your name!

Identity theft prevention services are inexpensive...generally around $100 a year per individual or $150 for households. If you aren't a careful type, guarding your personal information, reading your statements carefully and noticing if they don't arrive, shredding mail with identifying information, then an identity theft prevention service might be right for you.

Identity theft is fast becoming an epidemic in today's society, and can be perpetrated in ways that many people would never stop to consider. Without ever realizing it, you might be leaving yourself open to having your very own identity stolen - and may not discover the full impact of its implications for many years to come. It's all good and well to know that the threat exists, but this knowledge will do nothing to prevent it from happening unless you launch a full-scale identity theft prevention campaign.

First, let's consider some of the ways in which you might be vulnerable. Although the thoughts of most folks automatically turn toward the internet when the subject of identity theft comes into focus, that's not the only arena in which such a thing can occur. If, for instance, anyone should tell you that you'll need to provide sensitive data - such as your social security number - over the telephone in order to receive some type of benefit, service or award, simply decline and disconnect. Chances are, you've been targeted as the potential victim of a scam that's been designed to steal your identity.

Unless you're familiar with the person with whom you're dealing, or are filling out an official form for a legitimate personal or business purpose, information such as a social security number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers and other types of data that might have a bearing on your individuality should never be divulged.

If you've ever used a credit card to order take-out food over the phone, you're leaving yourself wide open to identity theft. Although you may have been doing business with the establishment for years, you're probably not personally familiar with the individuals who may come into contact with that vital information.

As a result, the numbers from your card might be lifted and used against you through the theft of funds, merchandise or your very identity. This same premise, of course, is true for any type of telephone purchasing that you might make.

A more subtle approach to identity theft would be the assurance that the person to whom you're speaking with on the phone doesn't want you to provide any sensitive personal information, but they'll have ways of extracting other details about you that will help them to obtain the necessary data through which they can steal your identity. For instance, you're talking to someone who cautions you not to give them your social security number or other critical information

- in order to protect yourself - but then they'll tell you that you have to provide the location of your birth and mother's maiden name in order to have access to your "account" with them in the future. This type of information is often used as safeguards for those who forget their online screen name or password.

Unfortunately, these same bits of data can work against you, when placed in the wrong hands.

identity theft prevention