Identity thieves can steal your identity by obtaining personal information such as your social security number, driver’s license number, date of birth, address, gender, occupation and other identifying information.
They get this information when they get a hold of a lost or stolen wallet, by stealing mail, a data breach, a computer virus, “phising” scams or documents that have been thrown in the garbage.
ID Theft Services Stay Ahead Of Cyber Attacks
It is more important than ever to protect yourself with some type of identity monitoring service. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States.
Identity theft is not just a financial crime anymore; it also includes criminal identity theft, governmental identity theft and medical identity theft.
For years, spammers have been buying bits and pieces of people’s email credentials, but it looks like they will start moving into your social accounts in 2012.
If a spammer can compromise your Facebook account, there is a good chance they will be able to manipulate all of your friends as well. Once they compromise your social platforms, they are going to head on over to your mobile devices.
It is estimated in 2012 that smartphones and hand held tablets will become victim to more than 1,000 different varieties of exploits, malicious applications, and botnets. If the creator of the applications do not protectively sandbox their offerings, the devices are likely to see malware that accesses your banking information, work documents, social media credentials and other types of sensitive data on your telephone or tablet.
The presidential elections, the London Olympics and the Mayan calendar will all be popular search terms in 2012 and the cyber criminals know this. While Google has become better at removing poisoned results from their indexes; criminal will use those same tactics on the social platforms like Twitter feeds, LinkedIn updates and YouTube video comments.
Websenses predicts that “scareware” tactics will be on the rise in 2012. These will come in the form of fake registry clean-ups, fake speed improvement software or fake backup software that will resemble popular personal cloud backup systems. It is recommended to question any offer, whether it is paid or free, whenever a window appears saying you should download and install something.
Even if you take every precaution, it is still possible that your identity may be stolen or compromised.
Steps To Take If You Think Your Identity Has Been Stolen Or Compromised
#1.) Place a identity fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit reports. This will stop the thief from opening any accounts in your name. Review your credit report for any inaccuracies. If any of the information is incorrect use the Identity Theft Report with a cover letter requesting that the item be removed from your credit report.
#2.) Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Call the company and follow up your request in writing and include copies of supporting documents. Make sure to send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested so you can document what the company received and when. When you open new accounts, use a new PIN and passwords. Don’t use easily available information like your mother’s maiden name or your birthday.
#3.) File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. This helps law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them.
#4.) File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Take a printed copy of your FTC ID Theft Complaint form, your cover letter, and your supporting documentation.
There are many ways to safeguard your identity and a lot of people are turning to companies that offer identity theft protection
Our Favorite I.D. Theft Programs
LifeLock works proactively to help protect your identity even if your information falls into the wrong hands. LifeLock monitors both credit and account applications for any unauthorized use of your information. LifeLock will send you an email, postal mail and in some cases may call you about any suspicious activity on your credit card, wireless services, retail credit, utilities, check reorders, mortgage loans, auto loans and payday loans.
Identity Guard monitors credit reports and social security number usage. Provides internet and credit monitoring and lost wallet protection.
Trusted ID monitors your credit reports and scores, sends out fraud alerts, and provides lost wallet protection.
ProtectmyID provides identity theft protection, internet scans, credit monitoring, address monitoring and sends out surveillance alert notifications.
Identity theft protection is something that every individual should consider. With identity theft on the rise due to the criminals finding new ways to get at your information, it is best to find a reputable company that is looking out for you and is prepared to help protect your good name.