According to a Federal Trade Commission study, some 10 million Americans become victims of identity theft each year and many believe that credit monitoring services like Identity Guard® can be of help. These types of services keep a close eye on your accounts, your name, and your social security number. Any suspicious activity is reported immediately so that you can quickly resolve the situation.
What is ID Theft
ID theft happens when someone gains access to your personal identification information. This information is then used to purchase items large and small. The information can be used to take out a line of credit, secure a loan, or open a bank account.
In some cases ID thieves have purchased cars and homes in a name other than their own. By the time the victim discovers that their identity has been stolen, purchases like these can add up to tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Restoring one's credit after such an incident can be difficult and often the process exacts an emotional as well as a financial toll.
How do Thieves get Identity Information
There are a number of different ways in which a person can obtain your sensitive information. Consider the many ways in which you willingly release access to your personal information and you may begin to understand why some people like to enlist the help of credit monitoring services.
Here are some of the ways thieves get their hands on your identity information:
- Collecting from what you share online;
- Attaching a virus or malware to a download which then gives them access to your accounts;
- Stealing the information off of a form you filled out at your doctor's office;
- Stealing your mail;
- Digging through your trash;
- Digging through the trash of restaurants or other business
How can I Protect Myself from Fraud
With 10 million Americans falling prey to identity fraud each year, it's important that you consider how to protect yourself and your sensitive information.
Here are a few tips:
- Be careful about what details you share on social networking sites like Facebook.
- Whenever you have to share identity information, ask about the policies in place to protect against theft.
- Check your credit report annually.
Some people find that a credit monitoring service is a great help. They keep an eye your personal identification information and alert you to possible fraud. Often, these services will work with you to resolve any issues that arise.