You’ve heard the expression, “Locks were made to keep honest people honest.” The same may be said for identity theft protection.
You can do everything within your power to keep your information private, but hackers and criminals intent on stealing and using your identity are also intent on finding a way to make it happen. They’re crafty. They’re persistent.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take steps to protect your personal information. It just means you also need to be persistent about protecting your information and become aware of the steps to take if your information is compromised. Such knowledge will allow you to act quickly, and possibly stem the damage.
If your Social Security number gets hacked in any data breaches, including recently hacked T-Mobile, then there’s a way to prevent hackers from misusing your identity (i.e. identity theft).
The solution here is that you can institute a security freeze at each of the three credit bureaus, Equifax
, or Transunion
. Once frozen, nobody will be allowed to access your credit report, which will prevent any identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name.
Banks and credit companies have been sending consumers new cards, which look like their old cards but are fitted with a small metallic high-tech chip known as EMV. That stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa — the three companies that created the standard. The chip’s goal: keeping thieves from easily accessing consumers’ personal information.
The new cards will NOT defeat data thieves.
Credit card fraud is a growing problem in the U.S. About 31.8 million U.S. consumers had their credit card information stolen last year, more than three times the number of consumers affected in 2013, according to a report published by Javelin, a company that studies customer transactions. According to a report from Barclays earlier this year, almost half of the world’s credit card fraud occurs in the U.S.
Recent news reports have highlighted how hackers in places like Russia and China accessed the personal information of people in the United States and other countries.
But identity thieves also live closer to home.
Just ask victims of familiar fraud. In this scenario, someone you know—and likely trust—steals your identity.
Familiar fraud is more difficult to prevent because we are typically taught to trust our closest relatives and believe they wouldn’t hurt us.
Blink. Now do it again. That’s how long it takes for identity theft to claim another victim in the U.S. More than 12 million new victims every year, a million every 30 days, one every two seconds.
There are many reasons why identity theft is the biggest single crime epidemic in history. It’s very easy to commit, to make a lot of money, and to get away with. As one notorious thief observed “if I can make $10,000 in a morning without even getting out of bed, why wouldn’t I?”
Last weekend, TheUpshot published the most dangerous identity theft threat: the non-expert’s tendency to underestimate the magnitude of problem. The piece in question argued that the consequences of most identity theft have been exaggerated (by identity theft experts like me), and that, “only a tiny number of people exposed by leaks end up paying any costs.”
Your credit card getting in the wrong hands can spell big trouble. When your card is stolen, a complete stranger essentially has the power to put you in financial ruin with a few swipes of the card. It’s a very scary situation to be in but one that is all too common.
Tracy, a health-care worker in Kentucky, is among the victims. The thief who stole her Social Security number opened several new cards in her name last year, racking up $1,500 in purchases and pushing one account past its credit limit. Another debt, owed to an online retailer, was sent to collections.
The catch? Tracy, who asked that her last name be withheld for privacy concerns, wasn’t victimized by some nameless, faceless hacker.
Her husband was the culprit.
“He knew my birthday. He had my Social Security number. He even had a copy of my driver’s license stored on his computer…”
According to a Gallup poll, the majority of American consumers are more worried about identity theft than any other issue. This hardly seems surprising, since id theft is the fastest growing crime in the country. Stories about it are constantly in the news, and there has also been a dramatic increase in data breaches over the past year. Additionally, the growth of smartphone and digital use among consumers has made individuals and their personal information more vulnerable to identity theft….
Online shopping is a retail trend that continues to become more and more popular. Retail experts are predicting that online sales figures will keep growing in 2015, and that unfortunately means more opportunity for cyber-criminals who are looking to commit identity theft.
Protect your identity while you shop online. Help protect your identity by taking a few precautions whenever you go online, whether you’re on your desktop at home or using your mobile device in a crowded cafe. Here are some tips that can help keep you safe:
• Don’t click on links: Don’t respond to emails that are from unverified sources….