Over the past few years, identity theft has become one of America’s biggest crimes. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reported that more than 27 million people have been victimized by identity theft and the FBI says that the number of victims is expected to grow by 500,000 to 700,000 a year. This suggests that you should really think about protection from identity theft.
What is identity theft?
Identify theft is where someone assumes your identity in order to access your resources or obtain credit and other benefits in your name. It occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information such as your name, Social Security number or credit card number without your permission–to commit fraud or other crimes.
There’s an app for that
People who are involved in credit card theft will actually say “there's an app for that.” The program for infecting your computer is called Zeus and it can steal your credit card information, important documents and even documents that are necessary for homeland security. Any hacker who is able to gain this information could use it to steal your identity.
One of the biggest problems of identity theft
One of the biggest problems of identity theft is that you may not know your identity has been stolen until after the theft has occurred. For example, you might receive notification from your credit card company of an unusually large charge–only to find out it was a purchase you didn't make.
How to get protection from identity theft
One way to protect yourself from identity theft is to monitor your credit reports on a regular basis. You can get your credit reports free from the site www.annualcreditreport.com but only once a year. If you want to monitor your credit reports on a regular basis, you will have to pay for them. You actually have three credit reports–from the three credit reporting bureaus – Experian®, TransUnion® and Equifax®.
Pay for protection
There are also services available to help protect you from identity theft where you pay for their services. Two of the largest are LifeLock and IdentityGuard. For that matter, your bank may offer an identity theft protection plan as does ours.
What they cost and what you get
These plans cost anywhere from $9.00 a month to $22.50, depending on the level of protection you choose.
If you sign up for one of these plans, you can expect to get services such as a daily scanning for credit applications submitted in your name and daily monitoring of all three credit bureaus. You may also get quarterly updates of your three credit scores and e-mail alerts if there are certain changes in your credit files. These companies may also provide daily surveillance of the Internet's financial black markets, which are known to be the places where identity thieves might be selling or trading your credit card information.
Protection from creditors
Have you fallen behind in payments on your credit cards, personal loans or medical bills? If so, you're probably being hassled by your creditors or even by collection agencies. You can stop those intimidating phone calls or threats to garnish your wages through a program called debt relief. In fact, the company National Debt Relief can get your debts slashed in half or better and help you get completely debt-free. Click Here to learn about this company and its remarkable program.