When you have been contacted by a bank for using your card at an unfamiliar location or you’ve noticed a strange credit card purchase that you know you did not make, then you have been a victim of identity theft. Not only is your loss financial, but your credit report has also been damaged. In 2017 nearly 15 million consumers had their identity stolen and in 2018, this number tripled.
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Causes of Identity Theft
How do you become an identity theft victim? Sometimes your personal information has been accessed in the following manner:
* Mail theft – thieves stealing your mail or dumpster diving by taking your discarded paperwork that you did not shred
* Credit card theft – looking over your shoulder as you swipe your credit card, giving your credit card information to an online hacked website or your card was skimmed at an illegal machine. Even though credit card companies have created sophisticated chip-card technology, it still has not blocked or stopped thieves.
* Phishing theft – an email scam where people pose as a real organization or company asking for your personal information.
* Social media theft – too much personal information is readily available on social media websites that thieves can piece together to find out more about you and your habits.
As consumers, we must become proactive. This means that taking responsibility for the little things that we do daily can keep us safe from identity theft. For example, we should not wait until our credit card statement is sent to us. We should consistently check our credit card activity online and to keep track of our bank account statements to make sure that nothing is out of the ordinary. Also install the up-to-the-minute firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer, tablet, and cellphone.
Services To Protect Consumers
The FBI, the credit card report companies, and the Identity Theft Resource Center are predicting that identity theft will be among the top five data breach thefts in 2019. There are effective ways to protect your data and one is to subscribe to LifeLock as part of its many identity theft protection services. The Lifelock cost is affordable and unique for each of its three plans. The Lifelock cost prices match the tiered packages that you chose to meet your protection needs: Standard, Advantage, Ultimate Plus, or Junior.
Other service companies for identity theft includes Identity Guard and Experian. Identity Guard like Lifelock features different plans and their affordable price ranges all while working with the main three bureau credit monitoring companies like Experian. Experian and other credit card reporting bureaus include alerts, FICO score monitoring, social security trace alerts, and many other alert features.
No One is Exempt From Data Theft
No one is immune to identity theft, celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Will Smith, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Martha Stewart all have experienced personal identity theft. As consumers, we all must become more educated in how to protect our digital identity with better monitoring plans in place. The ability to respond quickly is critical in protecting our personal information from identity theft.
Lifelock, Experian, and Identity Guard use involving technology to set-up protective layers for its members that involves the detection of fraud or suspicious activity, alerting you via email, text, or phone of any attempted fraud activities and then they work on the restoration of your accounts.
Using an all-in-one theft protection service to monitor your personal information helps relieve the stress of fearing something is going to happen each time you use your spending cards or order something online. Protecting our privacy is a partnership with the credit reporting bureaus and using theft protection services. In 2019, we are more covered in protecting our data privacy than ever before.