Thursday, July 30, 2015

Passwords and Identity Theft

  Passwords and Identity Theft

Identity theft is a common and costly occurrence. To protect yourself, you need to protect more than just your bank PIN, you need strong passwords across the web.

Lots of sites want you to create a password, but these passwords are not there just to be a nuisance. Passwords can be a valuable tool in preventing unauthorized access and protecting your data from ID theft, but only if you take the time to make secure ones. Look at a list of the most popular passwords. If yours is on there, then change it. Avoid other obvious ones too, like pet names and birthdays. Make sure that your password is at least 8 characters, and that it includes letters, numbers and symbols. Random upper and lower case letters can also make it more secure. You should use a different password for every site. If one site that you are registered at is hacked or you log in using a computer that has been compromised, hackers may try your stolen credentials at other sites.

Secure passwords should focus on unpredictability and length. If you are required to use a capital letter and a symbol and just use the former at the beginning of your password and the latter at the end, that is predictable. Ideally, your passwords wouldn’t even be words, they would just be completely random. This is unrealistic though without help. Even when we use words for our passwords, we have so many to remember that frustration is common. One solution is single sign on software. These services store and often generate your passwords for you. You log in with a master password, and the program plugs in all your other passwords for you. You never need to remember all these other passwords, so they can be much more complex than without single sign on software. These randomly generated passwords are much more difficult to crack, and the program will remember a different one for you for every different site.

Don’t settle for simple passwords. These are easy to remember, but also easy to crack.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Learning More About Credit Monitoring Companies

No matter where you live, who you are, or what part of society you might be from, it's important to remember that you can always fall victim to the pain and suffering caused by identity theft. There are many articles and blogs out there that offer some advice on how you can keep your credit as secure as possible, and many recommend that the best option is to consider making use of the services of credit monitoring companies like Identity Guard®. Although common sense and caution should manage most of your decisions throughout your day to day life, nothing is quite as beneficial as credit monitoring when it comes to ensuring that your reputation and finances do not get damaged a great deal by this type of crime. So how do you find the best credit monitoring company for your needs?

Evaluating Companies Offering Credit Monitoring Services

Take a moment to think about the last major purchase that you made in your life. Chances are that you felt the need to do some research before you committed yourself to a certain brand or company. Often, when we want to learn more about the different options available to us in a particular part of the market, we turn to things such as reviews and testimonials so that we might access some behind-the-scenes insights into what we might expect as future customers of that particular company. Of course, a credit monitoring companies review won't be sufficient when you're struggling to decide which service is right for you. However, what it can do is allow you to learn more about each company, so that the final decision you make can be more informed.

What Exactly Is Credit Monitoring?

Of course, all of the reviews and testimonials in the world won't help you make your decision, unless you know what you should actually expect from a credit monitoring provider. This service works by allowing you regular access to information regarding your credit files from the main credit bureaus so that you can keep a close eye on the data, ensuring it is accurate. These companies also provide you with alerts when they detect certain changes in the information that could be indicative of identity fraud.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Finding The Right Credit Monitor Service

Many people today are aware that identity theft is a significant problem that affects a lot of individuals on a regular basis. It doesn't matter where you're from, how much money you have, or what you do. Anyone can become a victim of identity theft. But having the right credit monitoring service by your side can be the number one most useful tool that you possess in defending yourself against this threat. So what does credit monitoring actually do for you?

Choosing an Automatic Credit Monitor

On a basic level, a professional credit monitor system works by giving you the opportunity to be aware of certain activities taking place within your credit files as regularly as possible. This means that instead of simply checking your reports once a year and hoping that everything is above board, you can observe if there are changes occurring in your information. This is useful because it allows you to pinpoint the areas of spending that are having the greatest negative impact on your credit score. And beyond this, it also means that you are more likely to notice if something strange starts to happen in your credit rating that could be the result of identity theft.

The Benefit of Monitoring Credit

Although you may be aware of the threat of identity theft, you may still be unsure of the reason why you should monitor credit information. The truth is that identity theft can have much more of an impact on your life than you may realize. Some people believe that all that may happen if they become a victim is that they lose some finances for a short amount of time until the situation has been properly sorted out. However, this is not the case. If you become a victim of identity theft, and you allow the problem to go on for a significant period of time because you don't have credit monitoring services, it could take you months, if not years to repair your credit and start living your life again the way you want to. Credit monitoring is your best option for ensuring that your finances and reputation do not get ruined substantially.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Look For A Service To Help Protect Against Credit Fraud

Identity theft is one of the most common types of crimes in the world today. Unfortunately, it is never possible to completely prevent credit fraud from happening. But on the other hand, it is certainly possible to take steps to help protect against substantial damages to your finances and reputation. One way is to make use of the various services of a company, such as Identity Guard®, which provides credit alerts and credit report monitoring. Some best practice actions that people need to take if they believe they have been the victim of some sort of fraud credit action are also advised by such companies.

What to Do If You Suspect Fraud

Those who do believe they have been targeted should immediately report this issue to the police. The government website has the ID Theft Victim's Complaint and Affidavit form, which they should complete and send to the relevant offices. They should also immediately report the problem to the financial institutions that hold any accounts that have been targeted and request that these be cancelled. Once they have done this, they should immediately request a credit report from each of the three major credit agencies. The Identity Guard® service that helps protect against credit fraud can be valuable, as it allows customers to be aware of their credit information on a regular basis. Furthermore, if certain changes are observed in the said info, customers will received an alert so customers would be able to act as soon as possible so that further damage can be avoided.

It is unfortunate that it is not possible to prevent credit fraud altogether. We live in a digital age and law enforcement are playing a cat and mouse game with people with unscrupulous intents. For every stop that is put on these types of actions, new actions are being developed. However, there certainly are plenty of things that can be done in order to at least protect yourself from becoming a victim. The services offered by credit fraud protection companies are one of those things. They allow people to stay informed of their credit data so that if any changes occur that could be indicative of identity theft for credit fraud, people can do the necessary actions in as short a time as possible.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Senior Citizens: Be Wary of Theft Identity

Senior Citizens: Be Wary of Theft Identity

Anyone can be targeted for identity theft, but senior citizens are especially at risk. Seniors are likely to be targeted for many reasons.

One is that they may not be overly familiar with technology.  Fraudsters take advantage of this by setting up fake websites and sending “phishing” emails. Technology is second nature to younger generations who have never known a world without the internet, but seniors may not see bad graphics or other inconsistencies on websites and emails as the red flags that they are. Sometimes emails can include links that lead to a fraudulent website or result in malware being downloaded to your computer. You can protect yourself from theft identity by using only reputable websites and ignoring emails that seem suspicious. Seniors especially need to remember that other people can have their email hacked too, so even mail from a familiar address can contain malware. If something doesn’t look right or you just aren’t sure, it is safest not to click on any links.

Seniors may also be targeted for identity theft because people raised in earlier decades are more likely to have been raised to be polite and trusting. Without the skepticism and capacity for rudeness that younger generations possess, seniors are more likely to fall victim to phone scams. These scams may claim that you have won a prize, or offer you a “high-profit, no-risk” investment opportunity. They may claim that they just need your credit card or social security number to take care of taxes on your prize. You can protect yourself by only buying from reputable companies, and remember that you never have to pay for a “free prize.” You can also protect yourself by not giving away any personal information over the phone. Simply say “no, thank you” and hang up the phone.

Everyone needs to protect themselves from identity theft, but seniors and their loved ones need to be especially vigilant. Remember not to give away personal information, don’t click on links that you aren’t sure about, and if someone offers you a prize or deal, know that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What To Do In Case Of Credit Theft

Most of us are very much aware of the importance of keeping our personal belongings safe, particularly our bank cards, debit cards, credit cards, social security cards, and so on. At the same time, however, most of us keep all these things together in a single place: our wallet. The problem is that it is very convenient for anyone who is contemplating the crime of theft of credit. But becoming a victim is not your fault. What matters is that you know what to do next.

What to Do After a Credit Card Is Stolen

As soon as you notice that your credit card has been stolen, you need to telephone your credit card company and tell them to cancel the card. In this way, whoever took the card will not be able to make transactions with it. Additionally, you need to run through the last transactions noted on the card to make sure the thief hasn't already used it. Of course, don't forget to phone the police as well.

A bigger danger than the immediate theft of the balance of your credit card, however, is the theft of your identity. This is why you should also sign up to a protection against credit theft service. Unfortunately, there isn't a service on this planet that can 100% prevent this crime from happening. What these services do is to monitor your credit file for certain activity that could indicate identity theft, like applying for a new credit card or a loan. When detected, you receive a prompt alert so you can investigate and take precautionary measures if you do suspect fraud.

This notification, or alert, is vital. An alert is sent out to you promptly. This means that you may be able to notify the company who left a search on your credit file of the fact that this is actually a case of stolen identity. As a result, they will no longer send the product out. They will also be able to liaise with the proper authorities, as they may now have an address of the culprit.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Password Saver Protects Data

You would think that people would have learned how to make a good password by now, but they haven’t. The most popular passwords of 2014 still include “123456,” “password,” and “qwerty.” It is a no brainer that these are not secure passwords, and it is time to stop using them.

A secure password should be at least eight characters and include letters, numbers and symbols. It should also have random upper and lowercase letters. If you are allowed to use enough characters, a whole sentence including punctuation can sometimes make a decent password.

You should use different passwords for every site. You never know who may obtain a list of usernames and passwords and try them on other sites. Also, make up your own security questions if possible. Often the ones provided are far from secure and could be answered simply by looking at your social media page.

It can be difficult to remember a complex, unique password for every site. If you make strong passwords, but then resort to sticky notes on your monitor or a document titled “passwords” to keep them straight, you undermine your own security. Your passwords should be stored only in your head.

A password keeper can help. A password keeper app can create and keep track of all your passwords for you and lets you log on to all your sites and programs using one master password. Because you never have to type them in, all your passwords can be completely random. A random password is much more difficult for even a computer to crack, and hackers usually go for the easier targets.

The master password for your password saver is the only one that you will have to remember and enter. Your master password should focus on unpredictability and length. For added security, some password keepers let you set a two-part authentication. These require a second validation in addition to your master password. The second validation could be a PIN sent to your mobile phone, or a fingerprint.

Don’t let the frustration of trying to remember all of your passwords make you resort to using simple, insecure ones. Let a password safe help you keep all your passwords (and personal information) secure.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What to do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

Learning that you have been a victim of identity theft can be scary.  You are probably wondering what to do next and how to protect yourself in the future.

You should report the crime to the police.  Though law enforcement officers are often unable to help and admit that they only investigate a small percentage if ID theft cases, a police report may help convince creditors that someone has been using your ID.

You also want to fill out an ID Theft Victim’s Complaint and Affidavit form.  You can find a secure copy online from a government website.  You can use this form when filing your police report and dealing with creditors and credit agencies.  Keep a copy of this (as well as any documents from police, credit reporting agencies, or other institutions) for you records.   Also keep a record of all phone calls, documentation, or deadlines that you encounter.   This information can be important in resolving the issue.

Report any unauthorized charges immediately and close any accounts that you believe are fraudulent or have been tampered with.  Depending on the company and the amount of the charge, you can sometimes get a provisional reimbursement immediately for the stolen money.  For larger amounts, bring a letter explaining the situation as well as your affidavit and police report.

Order a copy of your credit report from the three credit bureaus.  Check for accounts that you didn’t know about, inquiries from companies that you don’t know, or any other suspicious information.  This includes basic information like name and address.

Place a fraud alert on your credit report.  This informs credit agencies to notify you before opening new accounts in your name.  The alert lasts 90 days, but you should continue to monitor your credit report indefinitely.  You can try to remember to renew the fraud alert every 90 days. Use an identity theft monitoring service help you protect your identity.   These services monitor your credit report and public records and alert you to certain changes.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Protect Your Online Accounts With Password Storage Services

Passwords storage services and password management applications are becoming increasingly popular throughout the world today, and it's easy to understand why. The truth of the online world is that most of it is run on accounts, passwords, usernames, and codes that allow you to access information, deals, and data that are tailored to your needs. Whether you're logging on to send emails to a friend, accessing an online forum for work, or even checking your bank balance online, you're going to need a combination of letters and numbers to get through to that information.

Obviously, passwords are a useful part of daily life, as they help to keep you protected, and ensure that no one but you can gain access to your accounts. Unfortunately, they are not an unbreakable form of defense, and as hackers become more innovative, it is important that you take every step possible in strengthening your passwords and ensuring you don't become a victim - that's where password storage comes in.

Security Online

A number have studies have discovered that despite the fact that experts consistently warn us to choose strong and robust passwords, we often stick to the same easy-to-remember codes time after time. It's clear why we do this, of course - we want to make sure that we can remember how to log into our accounts every day, without causing ourselves unnecessary headache in trying to recall the password for a particular site. Unfortunately, using simple passwords, or utilizing the same code throughout every website that you visit only serves to make you more vulnerable to malicious individuals.

How Password Storage Helps

Password management software and vaults allow you to store passwords safely and securely in a single location that you can access whenever you need to log into an account. Websites like provide this solution as a way of encouraging people to use more complex passwords - as all they have to do is remember a single master code, rather than having to keep track of numerous different user-pass combinations. All you need is one master-key, and you can log on to any account that you have online today without having to worry about clicking the "forgot password" button, or exposing yourself to threats.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Email and Identity Theft Protection

When you think of personal information that can be used for identity theft, you probably think of name, birthday or social security number.  Things that rarely come to mind but should be protected are email and social media accounts.

Identity theft occurs when someone uses someone else’s personal information without authorization.  You may not think that a compromised email account can cause much damage, but it can be a doorway to more sensitive information.  Think about it, after your name, your email account is probably your most public piece of personal information.  Email addresses often contain your name, a number that is important to you, or your company name.  Identity thieves can use these harmless little pieces of information as breadcrumbs to lead them to more sensitive and profitable information.  Many user IDs and passwords are reset through email.  So if your email account is hacked, that can lead to more valuable accounts, such as online banking, being reset.  Smooth-talking crooks can even try to use your email address combined with other readily available information to convince others that they are you.

Social media can also put you at risk for identity theft.  Get familiar with privacy settings and try to limit who can see your posts and profile.  Keep in mind that options available for privacy settings change periodically, so even once you think you have them set up for maximum security, you should go back and check sometimes.  You may also want to go back and check past posts and things that you were tagged in for information that you no longer want to share.  You do not want a potential employer to do some research on you and find lots of highly unprofessional photos from a spring break years ago.  Thieves love it when you over-share and don’t set your privacy settings on social media because they can find answers to your password recovery security questions.  For example, they can find your mother’s maiden name by looking at who you have listed as family; or find a favorite vacation spot by going though your photos.