Identity theft: Avoid Being Targeted
With a click of a mouse, an unscrupulous person
can destroy any illusions you might have about the privacy of your
personal information. Here is a Typical Tax Time Phishing Scam.
By simply entering a name and a city and state of residence into
a Web site, a person is able to obtain a wealth of information about
another person, including their addresses for the past 30 years,
phone numbers, Social Security number and driver's license number,
automobile information including vehicle identification number,
license plate number and lien holder, property, mortgages, criminal
record and bankruptcies. Identity theft is easy with all that information.
You could imagine that in the hands of the wrong person, this information
could be used for a variety of despicable deeds. With all that information
it would be a cinch to get a fake drivers license or credit cards
in that persons name.
The thing that should be giving you nightmares is that similar information
is available to anybody willing to spend about $6.
Criminals take that information and then they use it to steal your identity.
Money or credit is usually what they are after. They will apply
for credit cards under that assumed name and then they profit from
it by obtaining the credit, the money, anything. That is identity
theft. Identity theft is where a person takes personal identifying
information from another.
The Internet is revolutionizing our world, and with its escalating
role in our economy and society in general, criminals have more
opportunities to steal peoples hard earned dollars and create trouble
for anyone with a name and a Social Security number. Identity theft
is a bigger threat now than ever before. It is the fastest growing
crime nationwide. The good news is that you can now monitor your FICO® credit report.
It gets even worse. The newest thing, according to the FBI, is the
crooks are taking the identities of children. They take that child's
name and identifying information and obtain credit under that name
with a different date of birth and then max out credit cards and
things of that nature. The child's family doesn't even know about
it until the first time that child applies for credit, usually for
college loans. It's destroyed before the kid even gets started. They are unscrupulous Identity Thieves.
While many older citizens fear releasing their Social Security number,
modern identity thieves don't need it to get started with their
criminal activities. If they want the information they can get it.
The Internet is the No. 1 method of identity theft now. It used
to be people stealing credit card applications and old bank statements
out of trashcans and things like that, and that still does occur,
but the fastest-growing method of identity theft is through the
While most of the sites where you can search for people on the Internet
charge for their services, the fees are remarkably low. For about
$5.50, you can get a name, a date of birth, relatives' names and
dates of birth, Social Security numbers, address histories; You
can get a persons mother's name and with that you can get the mother's
maiden name. With somebody's mother's maiden name, you have everything
you need to get a credit card. I'm not saying that it's easy for
the average computer user to do this but it can be done. Scary!
Credit card companies vary their policies concerning Identity Theft
and what is covered if it happens. Some are willing to forgive the
charges if it's evident they are due to identity theft, others require
that cardholders pay part of the charges and others are more sticky
about forgiving fraudulent charges.
People need to keep a close eye on their credit card statements
for suspicious looking charges. It is also recommended that everybody
order his or her own credit
report, at least once a year. That way, at least you know what
is on there.
Another way to thwart identity theft is to take a proactive approach like the LifeLock Identity theft service.
LifeLock does not wait for identity theft to happen; the service prevents it from happening in the first place. Once you have enrolled in the LifeLock service, they automatically start monitoring your personal information for threats to your identity. If an attempt is made to exploit your identity, LifeLock immediately contacts you to correct the situation before anything happens to your reputation and identity. LifeLock also scours the known malicious sites on the Internet for your personal information to see if it is being used for fraudulent activity and alerts you of any bad intentions. Find Discounts and See our review of the LifeLock Service.