Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the US. Approximately 12.6 million Americans became victims of this crime in 2012. It is expected to increase in 2013 and in the years onwards. Want to avoid becoming a number…what are you doing for ID theft protection? If you haven’t taken effective measures as of yet, then we are going to help you. With a 1 in 3 chance each year of getting victimized each year, you cannot wait any longer. ID thieves run up debts, take advantage of your health insurance benefits, get credit cards, open accounts, and even go as far as committing crimes in your name.
Here are some effective tips to prevent identity theft from happening to you:
Protect your SSN
In more than 50% of the ID related crimes, the criminals had access to the victim’s social security number. People usually carry their social security card in their wallets. And sometimes they either lose it, drop it somewhere or they get robbed, or their wallet gets stolen.
Avoid carrying your social security card in your wallet. Also, if you have a health plan or any other benefit card, ask the company to issue a different number. This will help you prevent the criminal misusing all your benefit plans in case he/she gets hands on your SSN card. But keep in mind, even if you protect it; if someone wants your SSN specifically, all they have to do is go on the Internet. Protecting your SSN and card just limits opportunity crime.
Do Not Fall For Phishing emails and calls
According to 2012 id fraud statistics, 38% of people became victims through phishing emails and 34% via phone calls. In phishing emails and calls, con artists look for victims by disguising themselves as legitimate credit card companies and banks. Their communication is so convincing that it’s often very hard to determine if it’s a fraud or not. The scammers ask for your personal and confidential information and then misuse it. Therefore you need to be careful that you don’t fall prey to phishing scams. The best way is to avoid giving information to strangers on emails and over the phone all together. If you think it is legitimate, contact the call center of the company to ensure if it was a scam.
Protect Your Computer From Viruses
Always use a strong password including a combination of numbers, letters and symbols so that fraudsters cannot access it. Also, use firewalls and Spyware protection software to prevent hackers from spying on your computer and getting access to your personal information.
Check Your Credit Card Reports
Another way to avoid id theft is to monitor your credit reports every 120 days. Equifax, TransUnion and Experian all have your credit report on file and available to you.
Hire a Identity Theft Protection Company
If you are a busy individual with many errands to run, monitoring your credit reports and implementing effective measures to prevent such crime can be difficult and very time consuming. Let’s be honest, are you really going to re-initiate fraud alerts every 90 days, opt outs every 60 days, telemarketer and junk mail opt outs. Are you going to self-insure against loss. Do you have 331 hours (the average time spent) to spend on the phone if victimized correcting the problems. If not, it’s best to hire an ID theft PREVENTION company with 100% resolution services. Do not hire a monitoring company. If they “monitor,” red flag, move on.
Jonas Patrick is the experts in identity theft protection services and working with KeepmyID .Org. He always shares tips and steps on identity theft prevention and protection.