What is Identity Protection?
Imagine that you walk into a market to purchase your daily
commodities. But right after you swipe-in your credit card, you hear the
cashier sigh, “Sir, you have exceeded your credit limit, would you like to try
another card?” A sudden trauma hits you; because you know for a matter of fact
that you haven’t exceeded the credit limit. Finally, you realize the bitter
truth; the fact that you have been a victim of identity theft. Someone has made
use of your credit card to their advantage without your consent.
The definition of identity theft differs from one source to
another; however, the general concept is any third-party making use of your
personal information, without your consent or knowledge, putting you at a
disadvantage. Identity theft can cause you to lose various details such as your
name, credit card details, and date of birth, among others.
The concept of identity theft goes back to more than half a century; however, its use has been prevalent much before the date. Back in the early 1900s, electoral candidates would make use of identity theft to rig and win elections. Later on, illegal immigrants made use of this method to travel and reside in foreign lands. However, now, thanks to the various technological advancements, you can easily protect yourself and your close ones by opting to purchase identity theft protection.
What is identity
Identity protection is the wall that will help you protect
yourself and your family against theft and fraud of your personal information.
The companies providing identity protection services keep an eye over your
personal information such as credit reports, social security numbers, etc. This
helps them to protect you against impersonators trying to use your data.
Why do you need
The modern era has somewhat proven to be a boon as well as a
curse for the people. The reason being; although, the new-age has brought in
numerous technological advancements along with it; however, it has also
increased crime rates. Thus, here, identity protection plays a significant role
by securing your information from any identity theft or impersonation.
Online Identity theft
Online identity theft scams take place when an impersonator robs your personal information such as your name, password, account details, social security number, etc. The various ways in which your personal information can be used by hackers to orchestrate online crimes are purchasing or selling illegal items or services on the dark web, phishing, etc. Thus, in such scenarios, identity protection against cybercrimes becomes extremely important. It red-flags and lets you know if your information had been used to perform cybercrimes.
Types of identity
Now, that you have a gist of the overall concept of identity
theft and protection; let us scrutinize the various ways in which your identity
can be stolen. Thus, the different types of identity theft are:
• Existing account takeover identity theft
Existing account takeover is the theft of your account’s
details by a third-party to enjoy monetary benefits at your expense. The
information of your online accounts is stolen and then used by the thieves to
gain access to your finances. There are a plethora of examples, which can
successfully define an existing account takeover identity fraud. The various
cases are phishing, credit card skimming, hacking of account, etc. Existing
account takeover fraud occurs when an impersonator steals your account’s access
credentials and uses it to make illegal purchases of products and services. The
best form of precaution against existing account takeover identity theft is to
keep your information safe and secure.
• New account identity theft
People often mistake ‘new account identity theft’ for
‘existing account takeover.’ However, one must remember that although both of
them make fraudulent use of your information, there is a considerable
difference between the two of them. The difference being, in existing account
takeover, your account’s information is stolen by the third-party to gain
access to the same and make illegal purchases or borrow money. Whereas, in new
account identity theft, the impersonator may open one or multiple accounts with
the help of your stolen information. Thus, there is a significant difference
between new account identity theft and existing account takeover. Further, new
account identity theft severely affects your credit score; which has a
substantial impact on your life. Therefore, make sure that as soon as you find
out about new account identity theft, you close the account and inform the
officials regarding it.
• Tax identity theft
Assume that it is the time of the year when you are filing
for your returns. You fill up the e-form
and forward it further; however, the IRS rejects your application claiming it
as a duplicate. From the example, it becomes quite clear that an imposter/thief
has used your personal information, i.e., your social security number for
filing tax returns. The thief might do so to avail tax refund or to obtain a
job; this is nothing but an example of tax identity theft. To avoid falling for
this trap, ensure that you never share your social security number unless it is
necessary. Also, it is advisable to avoid carrying it in your wallet or purse.
Further, make sure that you don’t respond to suspicious calls or emails.
• Medical identity theft
Medical identity theft can be defined as the robbery of a
person’s medical information, such as his or her name, medical insurance
number, etc. by the thief and using it to obtain health-related benefits for
free. It has a severe effect on your insurance coverage; because, you might be
unable to enjoy health benefits, if a thief has already maxed its limits.
According to reports and finance pundits, medical identity theft is one of the
most severe ones amongst all the other identity thefts. However, you can
protect yourself from facing such problems by simply taking a few precautionary
measures. These measures are: make sure that you avoid sharing your health
insurance information with suspicious entities, shred all of the earlier
medical insurance documents. Further, also make sure that you check your
insurance reports as soon as you get a hold of them.
• Employment identity theft
The theft of your personally identifiable information (PII)
such as your name, social security number, etc. to land-up a job or employment
benefits is known as employment identity theft. Just like personal identity
theft, employment identity theft, too, is common. People falling prey to such
scams are mostly the ones who are employed; however, they can even be the ones
searching for a job. Thus, one must ensure, never to give out personal
information easily; as it might result in employment identity theft. The
additional measures that a person can take are to scrutinize the employer
before filling online applications, don’t give out additional information
before your interview in the organization.
• Child identity theft
Imagine that you are going out front to pick-up mail from
your postbox; and amongst the tons of mails, you find one from the debt
collectors. However, this mail is not for you but your child. If you ever feel
that you are in such a scenario, then your child has fallen victim to child
identity theft. Although identity theft has been a problem for us adults for a
long time; however, even children are equally susceptible to it. Thieves prefer
to steal children’s information in comparison to that of adults. After all, it
will be ages until your child applies for credit or makes use of various benefits
from the government. Thus, helping impersonators to keep using the information
for a longer period. But worry not, you can easily protect your younger one
from child identity theft by undertaking a few measures. These measures are-
freeze your younger one’s credit, keep an eye out for any potential mails,
calls, etc. Also, ensure that you avoid sharing your child’s personal
information as much as possible.
• Senior identity theft
Senior citizens are known as the pillars of society due to
their past contributions and economic stability. In comparison to the
youngsters, senior citizens have a better credit score, assets, and capital
with them. However, many-a-time, they are unable to keep a tab of their credit
report, tax report, and health policies. It is where they become extremely
susceptible to senior identity theft. The robbers mostly call them and pretend
to be officials, to gain access to their personal information such as insurance
policy number, bank details, etc. And, later on, use this same information for
their benefits. However, senior citizens are the ones that face all the
trouble. But now the senior citizens can easily protect themselves by asking
for help from their family members. The family members can policies and credit
reports; they can also avoid providing their personal information to
• Criminal identity theft
Criminal identity theft is one of the worst forms of
identity frauds in which a criminal makes use of your information to commit
crimes. Thus, shifting the blame under your name. Criminal identity theft
mostly happens when any of your personal information is stolen; such as your
social security number, driver’s license, etc. Hence, if you ever face a
situation in which your personal information is stolen or duplicated, then
remember to inform the authorities as quickly as possible.
• Synthetic identity theft
Synthetic identity theft takes place when a thief combines
your real information along with fake data to create a synthetic identity of
his own. This synthetic identity might comprise of your real social security
number, name; however, at the same time, it might not match-up with your date
of birth. The fraudsters mostly make use of synthetic identity theft to rack-up
heaps of debt, as well as, enjoy unmonitored credit to their advantage.
Further, the financial institutions find it extremely difficult to catch the
fraudster; mainly because, most of the information submitted by him was real.
• Estate identity theft
Estate identity theft can be defined as the robbery of a
recently deceased person’s personally identifiable identity (PII) by the
third-party. The thief who impersonated the identity of the deceased person
tends to steal his or her social security number, bank details, name, and other
types of personal information. The thief then misuses the information to obtain
credit, loans, and other benefits. Estate identity theft is not only immoral-
because the thief assumes the identity of a deceased person, but is also
inhumane; as it has a huge impact on the deceased person’s family members.
• Mail Identity Theft
If a person is stealing, taking away, or blocking your mail,
then he or she can be said to have committed a mail identity theft. The thief
steals your mail in the hope of finding your personal information such as name,
password, date of birth, etc. Later on, the thief makes use of the information
to obtain financial benefits by opening fake bank accounts, debt, etc. However,
you can protect yourself from such mail identity theft by opting to undertake a
few precautionary measures. These precautionary measures are: check your annual
credit report, properly dispose of all your previous mails, and make sure that
you collect them from your mailbox on time.
• Online Shopping Fraud
For a second, imagine that it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and
you are busy surfing the internet; and right at that moment, you come across a
display ad that is too tempting to be forgotten. Thus, without thinking for
another moment, you tend to click on the ad. The display ad then takes you to
another page and asks you to enter the information to purchase the product
further and have it delivered to your home. However, even after several days
have passed, you still don’t get any product. And it is only then that you
realize that you have been tricked. Although, the above scenario might be too
hard to imagine for a many-a-people; however, this is something that happens
with a lot of people. This scenario is a perfect example of an online shopping
fraud. An online shopping fraud occurs when a thief or impersonator opens up a
website, assuming the identity of a famous retail website and sells your fake
rip-offs; worst-case scenario: at times, you might not even receive anything in
return. However, online shopping fraud not only results in you losing money but
also your personal information, which the fraudster might make use of to commit
identity theft. Thus, make sure that you thoroughly review the website before
purchasing any product or services from it.
• Debit Card Fraud or Credit Card Fraud
Debit or credit card fraud can be described as the loss of
the financial wealth of an individual due to the theft of his or her banking
details by the scammer. The thief commits debit card or credit card fraud after
obtaining your card number, and other banking details to withdraw cash or
purchase online goods and services by making use of your money. Further, while
committing debit card or credit card fraud, the thief obtain your personal
information and can use it against you. However, you can easily stop this fraud
and minimize the financial damage that you incur by reviewing your bank
statements after an equal interval of time, reducing online purchases with your
debit card, and shredding your old unused cards.
• Social Security Number Identity Theft
If you relieve a mail claiming that you have filed for
income tax returns, or applied for credit from a financial institution; even
though you have not, then my friend, there are high chances that your social
security number or SSN number might have been compromised, i.e. stolen. This
robbery of your SSN number is termed as a social security number identity
theft; and, results in you facing major problems. These problems range from
financial to legal problems; as the government makes use of your SSN number to
keep track of most of your activities. But you can surely protect yourself
against the thieves and take a deep breath of relief by simply following these
few steps: firstly, ensure that you avoid sharing your social security number
as much as possible, use other pieces of information; secondly, avoid piling up
documents that carry your SSN number, as there are high chances of you losing
it; and lastly, make sure that lookout for any such suspicious activities in
your bank accounts.
• Biometric ID Theft
Every human being has a varying set of biological attributes
that differ from one individual to another. These biological traits such as
fingerprints, retinal scans, and face recognition are used as biometric I.D.
This technology was developed by scientists and implemented by professionals in
order to tackle the increasing number of identity thefts around the world.
However, the hackers have still found a loophole to breach into the systems and
steal biological information to perform biometric I.D. theft. Although
biometric I.D. theft is highly expensive; however, the chances of this type of
theft happening are quite high. However, you can increase your defenses and
lower the chances of biometric I.D. theft by constantly updating your security
software and keeping the use of biometric I.D. to a minimum.
• Internet of Things Identity Theft
Today’s world is much more connected than it ever was in the
past. When I say connected, I am not only talking about the people but also the
technologies that are ‘smart’ and connected to one another. You can now easily
talk with an A.I. (artificial intelligence) software and share your queries or
set a reminder list. Other than those menial tasks, A.I. is capable of much
more than that; look at the introduction of self-driven cars. However, as great
as technology is for the growth of humans; it is also enough for their
destruction. After all, imagine that the software of your self-drive car has
been hacked; just the thought of it horrifies you, doesn’t it? The hacking of
such ‘smart’ devices is termed as the internet of things identity theft.
Although the above types of identity thefts might get you into serious introspecting and put you into panic mode; however, you can rest be assured- after all, you can still protect yourself by applying for identity theft services.
The primary features of the identity protection service are here as follows:
• Social Security Monitoring
In these volatile times, when you can almost find an
electronic breach in every institution; it is almost little to no sense of
security amongst the people. Thus, you might feel dreadful, hearing about a
breach; wondering, if all of your personal information is safe or compromised?
However, you can turn all of that chaos inside your head into calm by simply
opting to purchase an identity protection service. This service not only
protects you with the help of social security monitoring but also offers
additional features. The social security monitoring feature provided by these
companies keeps an eye out on various mediums such as credit bureaus, criminal
records, etc. It helps to ensure that your personal information isn’t being
used for anything illegal.
• Social Media Monitoring
Our generation spends more time on social media platforms
than all of the previous ones combined. Although, many of you might ignore this
fact; however, the truth is that we are the most vulnerable on social media
websites. When I say ‘vulnerable,’ I mean to proclaim that this is where we
share most about our lives: our dreams, our fears, and our daily activities-
our whole life. Thus, sadly but rightfully so, this is also the source through
which scammers obtain our personal information. However, you can give away with
all of your worries with the help of identity protection services. Because it
includes a social media monitoring feature that is enough to resolve all of
your worries. When I say it resolves our worries, I mean: social media
monitoring keeps an eye out on various social media platforms, and alerts us if
we are exposing our personal information; something that could pose a risk for
us. Other than that, it also informs us, if there are offensive, sexual, or inappropriate
posts in our fees; thus, helping us to safeguard our reputation.
• Address Change Verification
Your address; to be specific, your mailbox is of great
importance- that is the box that gathers most of your sensitive personal
information. When we say, personal information, what we mean to say is that it
is where you find all your letters from the government, documents from
financial institutions, etc. Thus, your mailbox is something that must be
extremely secured, so that no one would be able to steal your information;
however, that’s not the case. The reason being; changing your residential
address is extremely easy. Just visit the post office and fill out a few forms;
guess what? You can even do that online, that too, within a few clicks. Further,
this is the same process that all the people follow; and, also the one which
can be used by a thief to redirect your mails to his or her choice of
destination. So, how can you prevent such an atrocity from happening with you?
The answer is simple; you purchase an identity protection plan. After all, this
plan has a feature called address change verification; wherein, a person would
alert you if your mail has been redirected by someone without your permission.
• Black Market Surveillance
The internet is an unexplored world of its own; after all,
more than 99% of the overall data is not being indexed by your day-to-day
search engines like Bing, Yahoo, or Google. So, it means that we only have
access to around 1% of the overall data. The data and websites which are
blocked by search engines are known as the ‘dark web,’ and the information and
its uses are as spooky as the name given to it. The reason why this part of the
internet is blocked from the eyes of the common folk is that the dark web is
the place where all sorts of illegal activities take place; and they range from
drug deals, illegal assassinations, as well as selling of information amongst
others. Thus, it would come-up as no surprise that this is the place where you
will find your personally identifiable information (PII); it is being stolen by
someone. However, as we have already discussed, that the dark web is not being
indexed by the conventional search engines; thus, you cannot supervise if your
information is being sold on these websites. So, what do you do? Worry not,
because you can simply purchase an identity protection service, and they will
do the job for you. The identity protection plans offer a feature of black
market surveillance, which will monitor the dark-web and alert you if your data
is being sold-off on those websites. Although black market surveillance does
cover a tremendous number of illegal activities; however, it is not able to
cover them all due to the vast nature of the unindexed websites.
• Payday Loan Monitoring
So, what do you think that a criminal does when he or she
obtains your personal information such as- bank information, social security
number, name, address? The answer is quite simple: the thief will try to
squeeze out as much money as possible from you. The robber will apply for
credit such as a payday loan; and you guessed it correct, he is not going to
pay it back. So, in the end, you would be the one to bear the brunt for his
deed. But now you can easily cease such an ordeal from happening with you by
simply opting for a theft protection service. These services have features such
as payday loan monitoring, which will alert you in the case of such illegal
• Bank and Credit Card Activity Alerts
Identity theft protection service offers you the primary
feature of bank and credit card activity alerts. This feature alerts by
notifying you if your bank withdrawal or transfer amount has crossed the limit
set by you. This feature helps you to stay informed and alert from the thieves.
Once you activate your identity theft protection service, you will be
immediately placed under the feature of bank and credit card activity alerts.
And as far as the alerts go; you will receive them via mail or in your
smartphone. Also, this feature can be further customized to your taste;
meaning, you can always choose the credit cards as well as the monetary limit
that you want to set.
• 401k and Investment Activity Alerts
There comes the point in life when we all start taking our
retirement seriously; after all, no one can work till eternity. We all have
different retirement goals embedded in our hindsight; these goals vary from
traveling the world to relaxing in a farmhouse. Whatever your retirement goals
may be, one thing that every one of us needs is to have the appropriate amount
of cash at our disposal. Thus, we must start saving money early on in life;
further, this has been made a lot easier by the companies, thanks to their 401K
retirement plans. However, just how identity theft happens even after all your
precautions; in a similar way, there are chances that your 401k investments
might also get stolen. Therefore, take all the relevant precautionary measures
to ensure that your savings are safe and sound. And you can easily do so by
purchasing an identity safety protection service. These services have an
additional feature called 401K and investment activity alerts, which will help
keep all your money protected. This feature alerts you via mail or a text
message if a thief is trying to withdraw the savings without your permission.
• Credit Score Monitoring
In today’s times, your credit score plays a deciding role in
a number of situations such as you getting a job, procuring the loan amount,
etc. Further, monitoring your credit score will also help you to detect and
identify any possibility of theft. Thus,
a credit score is something that should be closely monitored; however, the
hectic schedule of our daily lifestyle is something that doesn’t allow us to do
so. But now you can easily change that fact by simply opting for an identity
protection service. The reason being; these services give out a feature known
as credit score monitoring, which does a complex job for you. Further, the
companies offering you identity theft services will not even charge you with
extra money; because, most-of-the-times, this feature is included under their
service plans. But ensure that you confirm with the particular identity
protection provider; if or not, they are monitoring all three of the credit
bureaus or just one of them. The three major credit bureaus are Experian,
Equifax, and TransUnion. Similarly, CIBIL is the primary credit bureau of
• Credit Score Reporting
Your credit score is the perfect reflection of your
financial management skills. Thus, financial institutions, as well as some
employers, review and scrutinize it to gauge your financial awareness. Hence,
we all ensure to maintain our credit score and further improve it by making
timely repayments on all of our debt. After all, our credit score is severely
impacted due to late-repayments on being unable to make any. However, all of
your hard work goes out the window, when a thief steals your personal
information and applies for a loan on your credit. And you end up paying a huge
price for the thief’s actions. But credit score reporting helps you to ensure
that it doesn’t happen with you.
• Payday Loan Monitoring
Just like how technology has developed over the years; so
have the thieves. In today’s times, thieves have started stealing your personally
identifiable information (PII) such as your name, password, bank details, and
social security number amongst a ton of other details. The thieves then make
use of this information at various points of sales to buy products and services
on your credit. Other than that, the thief might even apply for a payday loan
by using your information. Payday loans have higher interest rates; thus, when
the thief doesn’t make repayments, it will not only be a monetary loss for you
but will also have a negative impact on your credit score. Further, the robber
might also try to sell your PII on dark-web to make some extra cash. However,
the payday loan monitoring feature scrutinizes the financial institutions to
ensure that no illegal activity is being performed via your PII. And, if they
do find some suspicious activity; then they alert you via mail or text.
• Identity Restoration
Identity theft is probably one of the worst experiences that
can befall upon a person. After all, it not only usurps your financial wealth but
also takes away your peace of mind. Even though we always discuss the recent
issue; however, it is the latter, which causes us the most amount of trouble.
After all, the thief who has stolen your identity and is raising havoc does so
under the assumption of your name. Further, resorting to your identity and
correcting all the mistakes in official documents- credit report, bank
statements, etc. can be quite hectic as well as time-consuming. However, thanks
to the identity restoration services offered by the identity protection
companies, you can take a back-seat and let them do the job for you. These
companies have highly-trained officials that will carry out the entire process
on your behalf.
• Identity Theft Insurance Coverage
Identity theft often occurs without any prior signs of warning; thus, one must always be prepared to face such obstacles head-on. And identity theft insurance coverage is the cushion that will help you bounce back after your monetary and psychological loss. Identity theft insurance will cover all of the costs that you might incur while restoring your identity. The various costs, which may or may not be included under this service, depending upon the identity protection company are- credit monitoring service, required fees for legal assistance, costs to obtain a credit report, etc. However, you must keep in mind that the identity theft insurance coverage will not provide you any reimbursement for the amount of money, which you have lost due to identity theft.
Tips to avoid Identity theft protection or what measures can we take to protect our identity from being stolen?
Just take a look at the statistics of identity theft, and
you will be shocked to find more than ten million cases of identity theft
registered in a single year across the world. Thus, you must be aware that
protecting your identity is extremely important; and you must take all the
required measures to do that. Although, you can always choose to apply for
identity theft protection services; however, today we will discuss a few tips
which will help you to avoid such services (to save money) and do the work on
your own. Hence, the various precautionary measures that you must take to
protect your identity from being stolen are:
• Secure your mail-box:
According to a research study, most of the identity thieves
obtain their target’s personally identifiable information (PII) through their
mail-box. After all, your mail-box is the place where you receive most of your
legal documents, credit reports, etc.; thus, making it a perfect blind spot for
the impersonators to steal. Hence, ensure that the first thing you do to
protect yourself from identity theft is to purchase a new, better-equipped
mail-box or to ask the postal service to hold on to any of your essential packages;
so that you can go to collect it later.
• Monitor your credit report
Although, every single one of us knows the importance of
credit score; and how it impacts our daily life- by giving us access to secure
employment and financial assistance. However, there are still a number of us
who avoid the task; thinking that they can always review it later. But this
same preposterous attitude can cause our identity to be stolen by a thief;
hence, ensure that you monitor your credit report from time-to-time. Thus,
allowing you to scrutinize and detect if there are any illegal activities being
performed by someone without your knowledge.
• Ensure that you never over-share your PII
Your PII or personally identifiable information is the most
valuable asset that provides you with access to all facets of life. You can use
your SSN number (social security number) or your driver’s license ID to obtain
a credit report, income tax audit, etc. Thus, although your PII has a ton of
beneficial advantages when used by you; however, it can prove to be
substantially negative if it is stolen by someone else. Thus, ensure that you
never share your PII with anyone, unless and until it is absolutely necessary;
after all, you can always provide other details such as your birth of date,
place of birth, etc.
• Make use of multiple passwords
The best thing about using online methods for transactions and communications is that you get to access all the information in a particular account by using a single password. This, in itself, is good as well as a bad thing. Good because: you can easily and quickly log-in to your account by using a password; bad because most of us set a particular password for all our accounts. This is bad for us because, if the hacker gets his hands on one account’s passwords, then all of your other ones also become compromised.
Warning signals that your identity is being compromised?
Identity theft can take a massive toll on your life: because
it not only causes you to lose out on cash but also disrupts your peace of
mind. The thieves steal your personally identifiable information (PII) and make
use of it to wreak havoc on your life: they open fake bank accounts under your
name; apply for loans, steal your retirement fund, apply for tax returns under
your name, etc. Further, in order to make some extra cash, they might even sell
your PII in the black market. However, you must remember that you are the first
person who can detect any such identity theft happening with you. The various
warning signals that will help you to detect these types of identity theft are:
- The most common warning signal that often
precedes identity theft is that you find some odd changes in your credit
report. In fact, there are a number of such charges that you don’t even
remember about. If that’s the case with you as well, then my friend, this is
nothing but a warning signal that your identity is being compromised.
- Also, if you think that it’s been too long since
you last received any mails, and you think that there is a probability that
your letters might be stolen or your mailing address might be redirected to
another one, then ensure that you check with the post office.
- Other than that, another warning sign of
identity theft can be detected when you come across calls from financial
institutions; them demanding you to repay the debt that you don’t even remember
procuring. Further, another one of such scenarios is when you file for your
income tax report, and the officials claim that someone has already applied for
- And the last case of identity theft is when your
receive notifications claiming that you have exceeded your credit limit; when
in fact, for a matter of fact, you know that you are well below exceeding your
limit. And feel as if someone else has stolen your details and made use of the
card without your knowledge.
Tips to protect your
Although identity theft does take place with people to a
large extent; however, that doesn’t mean that you cannot protect your identity
from being stolen. There are a number of tips which you can follow to ensure
that your identity is safeguarded from such illegal activities. And the various
- Make sure that you only share your sensitive
personal information, such as your bank details, name, date of birth,
passwords, social security numbers, etc. when it is necessary. One such
essential scenario is when the officials from the government, such as the IRS
ask for your information. Other than that, always try to share additional
details that wouldn’t cause your identity to be compromised. Further, always
beware of any incoming call from people claiming that they are from the
government; if necessary, call back the registered number to double-check if
they are not some scammers.
- Further, you can also take easy but efficient
measures such as scrutinizing your credit report on a timely basis; to check
for any fraudulent activities, suspicious bank transactions, etc. This will
help you to protect and alert you, in case your identity is being stolen by someone.
- Also, you can always purchase and make use of
the identity protection services from the companies. There are a lot of
companies that offer such services at affordable prices. IdentityForce,
LifeLock, PrivacyGuard, etc. are a few of such services. These companies
provide a vast number of plans which are specially customized to suit your
needs. Further, there are a ton of additional services that are offered along
with the plans, such as- credit monitoring, identity restoration, bank and
credit card activity alerts, etc. These companies also offer social media
monitoring; thus, helping you detect any inappropriate information being shared
from your accounts.
What are the recovery
steps after Identity theft?
Identity theft can cause a lot of turmoil in a person’s life
by adding financial as well as emotional stress. However, worry not, because
you can recover from such an event by following a few steps. The various steps
that will help you to recover from identity theft and retain your peace of mind
are as follows:
- Step 1: The first thing that you need to do after facing such an ordeal is to calm down; take a deep breath, and focus on what to do next. Firstly, assess the various types of damages that have been caused to you; because of identity theft. After you make a list, contact the appropriate departments. The various departments that you can contact are- financial institutions; to let them know that someone else had applied for a loan on your information, income tax department; to make them understand that it was a thief, who had asked for tax report by stealing your information, etc.
- Step 2: Contact the police station and file for a policy report on identity theft. You can easily do so by providing the cops with all the required documents and explaining your situation. The various documents that you need to take along with you are your government-issued IDs, proof of residence, and the documents which your information was used; your credit report, bank statements with altered information, etc.
- Step 3: Call the credit bureaus and ask them to freeze your account at that very instant; this will ensure that no further harm is done. Further, ask them to make all the appropriate corrections to the report; and submit the necessary documents. In the end, to take that extra precautionary measure, think of opting for an extended period of a credit freeze or fraud alerts.
- Step 4: Call the government offices to get a new ID card issued to you. You can always obtain a unique social security card number by merely providing them with a few documents along with a letter explaining your situation to them. After you receive the new documents, make sure that you don’t make the same mistake that you had made earlier; protect your personally identifiable information (PII) in a better way this time.
How to protect
yourself from a data breach?
Now, before we discuss the various ways through which you
can protect yourself from the data breach. Let us understand, as to what
exactly a data breach means: It is an incident in which, the criminals/thieves
overlap the security walls set by the institution, and monitor or steal the
confidential information in an unauthorized way. However, if you find out that
there was a data breach and your personal information was compromised; that
doesn’t mean that you are a victim of identity theft. It means that your
information may or may not be used by the thieves. Now that being said: make
sure that you don’t panic and thoroughly follow the below-given steps:
- Contact the three credit bureaus- Equifax,
Experian, and TransUnion, and place a credit freeze over your account. The
reason being, a credit freeze will ensure that the thieves won’t be able to
steal your money by applying for loans. In case they do, the credit bureau will
alert the financial institutions, and this will prevent the thieves from
getting the loan amount sanctioned.
- As soon as you hear that your information might
be under the threat of security breach: the first thing that you must do is to
change all your account passwords. And when we say account passwords, we mean-
everything ranging from your social media passwords to your bank account ones.
This will ensure that event if your personally identifiable information (PII)
is doesn’t leaked; your accounts are still protected from it. Further, whilst
we are discussing passwords, let us make one thing clear- you must ensure that
you use multiple passwords for different websites. This will ensure that even
if one of your account’s password is does compromised, your other accounts will
still be safe.
- Obtain bank statements to ensure to scrutinize
and ensure that there aren’t any charges that you don’t recognize. If there are
any; which you feel are made by someone else, then make sure that you contact
your financial institutions as quickly as possible. This will ensure that the
thief won’t be able to steal money from you.
- Lastly, one of the more important things that
you must do is secure your postbox. After all, this is the place from which the
thieves mostly steal your personal information to perform illegal activities.
Hence, ensure that you don’t keep your mail lying in your postbox for too long,
and you can always opt to purchase a more secure postbox. Further, you can then
choose to collect the mail directly from the post office.
How to Report
The first thing that you need to know about reporting your
identity theft is that it is not compulsory. After all, the government has made
it clear that you can register a complaint with the FTC (Federal trade
commission). Now, that being said, there are still specific scenarios when you
must file for a police report- (1) when you know that your identity is stolen
and is being used for illegal activities, and (2) If any financial or governmental
institutions ask for it. If you fit into the above criteria, then you have to
file for a police report. Further, filing for a police report is not that much
of a huge task; all you need to do is:
- Contact the FTC and get a copy of the report.
- Visit the police station; explain to them about
your situation in brief, and submit the documents containing fraudulent
- Provide them with your government-issued
Identity cards, along with your proof of residence such as your utility bill,
Also, at times, the process of filing for police reports can be complex; as the procedures vary from one state to another. However, ensure that you remain calm and check the process caref ully. Further, ensure that you apply for a credit freeze or a fraud alert on your credit report. This will help you to monitor your credit report and ensure that no further damage is done.
Top Identity Protection Companies
In recent years, there have been a number of identity
protection companies that will you with services and products that will suit
your needs the best. And the following are some of the top identity protection
- Identity Guard
- Experian IdentityWorks
- ID Watchdog
- AllClear ID
- Complete ID
What Identity Protection Companies Do?
In this modern tech-savvy era, data breaches occur more than
ever. Thus, it is not highly unlikely that at some point in time, even your
data might come under the risk of being stolen. Hence, the best way to protect
yourself is by taking all the right safety precautions, and purchasing identity
protection services is probably the best one out there. The various ways
through which the identity protection companies safeguard you from identity
- The identity protection services monitor your
credit report to ensure that no fraudulent activity is being performed behind
your back. In case, they find some suspicious transactions; they alert you to
prevent it from causing further damage.
- These companies also offer identity theft
coverage and identity theft restoration services. The identity theft cover
provides you with reimbursement for all the amount of cash you need to restore
your identity; however, one must remember that it doesn’t provide you with the
money that you have directly lost due to identity theft. On the other hand,
identity restoration services will provide you with all the assistance that you
will require to restore your identity.
- Further, identity protection companies even
offer you the service of social media monitoring. Thus, protecting your
reputation across all social media platforms. The company will inform you; if
any person posts inappropriate, sexual, or damaging content through your
How Much Does Identity Protection Cost?
The costs of identity protection services depend on a number
of factors and will vary in accordance with the following details:
- Company: There are a number of companies that offer identity protection services, and their costs differ from one company to another. Therefore, you may find one company providing you with a service at a way lower price than the other one. Hence, comparison and research play a huge role.
- Type of plan: Now that you are done with choosing the company; it’s time to choose the plan that would serve your needs the best. Mainly, identity protection companies offer a number of plans, and their costs vary according to the services for which you have opted for.