Saturday, October 31, 2015

Why Credit Monitoring Services Are Beneficial

credit monitoring services
Your credit is an important part of your identity.

Anyone with your personal information (e.g. name, date of birth, Social Security number, etc.) can use it to commit fraud in your name. Perhaps the worst part is the negative impact that identity theft can have on your credit. Bad scores typically result in unfavorable interest rates and can even prevent you from leasing an apartment.

With identity theft on the rise, you need to take extra precautions to protect yourself. If you are concerned, credit monitoring services are a great start. These services are beneficial for the following two reasons.

Protect Against Identity Theft

Identity thieves use sophisticated methods to access sensitive information. Attackers prey on unsuspecting victims and use their information to use or open new accounts in their name. This is why it's a good idea to regularly monitor your credit and files.

Credit monitoring helps to protect against identity theft as it tracks certain types of activity. You receive notifications when a new account is open in your name so you can respond immediately. This gives you a huge advantage in protecting your identity.

But it's important to note that services monitoring credit don't necessarily prevent identity theft. Not everything shows up on a credit report and attackers can find other ways to commit fraud in your name.

Credit Tracking

Your credit score is a three digit number that is calculated based on your credit history. Credit issuers look at this score to gauge your creditworthiness and assess how much you can qualify for.

Many people are often unaware of what shows up on their credit report until they actually apply for credit. This is a problem for obvious reasons as unpaid accounts (even if you didn't open them) could have a negative impact on your score for years. Knowing what shows up on your credit report is important for this reason.

Credit monitoring services track changes to your credit report and notify you of certain activity. You also get updates on your credit score so you can better monitor your financial health. Credit monitoring can be especially beneficial whether you are looking to protect against identity theft or track changes to your credit score.

What to Do Before Filing an Identity Theft Report

identity theft report
If your information was compromised whether through a data breach or other hack, you could potentially be a victim of identity theft. This occurs when someone uses information about yourself to commit fraud. Examples include making purchases with your credit card or opening new accounts in your name. Both can have negative consequences on your credit score.

No matter how many precautions you take, your identity can be used to commit fraudulent activity. The following is what you should do before you file an identity theft report.

Immediately Contact Credit IssuersSome identity thieves will use your information to open a new account in your name.

This is why it is so important to regularly review your credit report as illegal activities as described above can easily go undetected for years. So the first step is to contact the company immediately where you know that fraud has occurred. You will need to explain your situation and that you were a victim of identity theft. Ask the credit issuers to either close or freeze the account so no one can make any new charges.

If your identity has recently been compromised, you should also change the logins and passwords to all your accounts. Be sure to use a strong password that includes numbers and other special characters.

Place a Fraud AlertThe next step is to contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your file. With a fraud alert on your report, businesses must verify your identity first before extending credit. This makes it harder for attackers to use your name to open new accounts. The alert will stay your report for 90 days.

Another measure you can take is placing a security freeze on your credit report. What this does is completely restrict access to your credit. You will need to contact each of the credit bureaus individually and pay a small fee which varies depending on where you live.

File a ReportThe next step is to file an ID theft report with your local police department. You will be asked to provide proof of your identity. Be sure to keep a copy of the report as you will need it later.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ways to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

identity theft

There are stories on the news every day about different crimes that get committed - kidnappings, murders, robberies and even home invasions are becoming almost second nature to people, and while they are shocking, their occurrences are not surprising. One type of crime that doesn't always get the heightened amount of exposure is identity theft, which is extremely common. This type of crime can happen anywhere and to anyone; it doesn't matter whether or not you have large amount of money or a prominent place in the community, the thieves will still do their best to access what is yours in an attempt to benefit from it. In an effort to combat this type of crime, there are many different methods available to those that choose to use them; some of which are listed below.

Credit Monitors

This type of service is meant to provide protection of your finances by monitoring your credit files. When provided with the proper and up to date information, this type of service is available to go monitor your credit information and notify you of certain changes that could indicate identity theft so that you may take appropriate action. Though the results will be different for everyone, it is a huge asset to have an "early warning" system in place, which is what this type of program provides - when you use it, you'll no longer have to wait monthly to check transactions, yearly for a credit report, or remember to log in to each account daily... this service takes care of things for you.

Identity Monitors

Much like a credit monitoring service, an identity monitor is a service that protects against one of the types of identity theft. Many thieves find information to be almost as valuable as money, meaning that they will target things like names, addresses and Social Security numbers instead of funds. These details are what separate people from each other, and having them compromised in any way can be a huge hassle. Working much like a credit monitor, this service relies on monitoring information in order, and then alerts you when certain types of charges are detected. You'll need to act when this is brought to your attention, but knowing is half the battle.

Changing Passwords

Whether on a cell phone, tablet or computer, passwords are necessary for many different things. Changing these codes often is only one of the free ways that you can work to prevent identity theft from possibly happening, even though it may feel like a lot of trouble. When you consider the alternatives - stolen information and compromised funds - taking the time to change around your passwords every few months will not seem like such a big deal.  When changing these codes, it's important to choose things that cannot easily be guessed in order to further deter the thieves and protect your information.

Using Secure Sites and Applications

It can be difficult to differentiate between safe and unsafe sites, but this can be done if enough care is taken. The likelihood of becoming a victim of one of the types of identity theft is increased if you practice unsafe Internet habits, so you need to have definite control over this aspect of your online persona. Don't download or install things just because they look fun or you are prompted to; do some research and ensure that they are legitimate and not scams - this can save you the time and effort of working backwards from theft or information leaks. Dealing with theft of identity is no joke, so knowing about identify theft and how to avoid it can be a great tool to combat the likelihood of becoming a victim.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Who Needs Fraud Protection?

fraud protection
No one wants to think about their information falling into the wrong hands, but the truth is that sometimes this does happen. Identity theft is a form of fraud that happens when thieves steal the information (financial or otherwise) of others and misuse it for personal gain. This may mean purchases made, accounts opened or closed, a name or Social Security number used without consent - the options are varied and numerous, and this type of crime happens extremely frequently. In an attempt to decrease the number of cases of identity theft, fraud protection services can be used effectively by people of all types.

The sad truth about this type of crime is that there is no specific group that is overlooked - everyone is exposed to the likelihood that they might become a victim, because all thieves look for is an easy way in. Fraud protection services cannot stop these thieves, but they can help to alert you that they could be present and trying to cause trouble for you down the road. This type of crime is not often detected at the get go without outside help in the form of a service or special software, but luckily these things exist and have proven to be extremely helpful in many different situations. Identity fraud protection doesn't mean putting an end to thieves, it simply means that there is a way to make your information a little safer and more secure. The idea behind these types of services is that if something is brought to the attention of the account owner (you) in a timely manner, thieves can be stopped before things get out of hand. Knowing the exact moment the theft happened by checking transaction and account history gives you something to tell the bank or the police, and shows that you're on top of things - this also provides a list of transactions that need to be cancelled, stopped or refunded, so that the organization can begin the repayment process, and you can start to pick up the pieces.

Young or old, wise or inexperienced, there's always a need to keep your information safe, especially since it's so important to have good credit and a stable income. Many people work hard to build financial security, and having this suddenly disappear can be extremely upsetting. Although services like fraud protection cannot stop thieves on their own, they provide the means for you to do so by taking action and regaining control in a swift manner.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Credit Monitoring Services Help Protect your Financial Security

credit monitoring services
When you think about your financial security, the first thing that comes to mind might be your occupation and yearly salary.  Maybe you think about how much money you have in savings or investments.  While these things are certainly important, your credit history and credit scores are also extremely important.  Some people may be extremely successful financially, and able to make cash purchases for large items such as homes and vehicles. That is not the case for the average individual.

Most people use credit to purchase large, expensive items.  It is also extremely convenient to use credit on a daily basis to make smaller purchases like clothing, groceries and gas.  You have probably worked hard to build your good credit so that you can have the things you want and take advantage of the daily convenience afforded by using your credit.  Credit monitoring services are designed to help you protect the good credit for which you have worked so hard.

One of the best services monitoring credit is Identity Guard®.  Identity Guard will provide your credit scores based on the data from all three major credit bureaus.  Other services may look at only one score, which is not a comprehensive way to track possible credit issues and detect fraud.  If changes or certain activity are detected in your credit file, Identity Guard will send you a prompt notification.  You can choose to be notified by text message or email.  There is also a convenient mobile application that you can choose to download to your personal device.

Using Identity Guard to monitor your credit reports will save you a lot of time right from the beginning.  Over time, you may save many hours and hundreds of dollars that would be needed to correct inaccuracies in your credit history.  Use Identity Guard to reduce the chances that the good credit for which you have worked long and hard will be damaged by credit bureau mistakes or identity theft.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Why you need an Identity Protector

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, and one of the major consequences of identity theft is a damaged credit score.  Your credit score helps to determine if you are approved and your rates when you apply for financing.  It can also come into play when you apply for a job or rent an apartment – it basically determines whether or not doing business with you is an attractive prospect or not to companies.  Using an identity protector is an effective way to keep yourself looking good to companies and keep your prospects open for the future.

An identity protector works by monitoring your credit report and public records and alerting you to certain changes.  This is one of the best ways to detect identity theft.  If someone were to open an account in your name, it would show up on your credit report; but if you were not monitoring your credit report with an identity protector, you may not even discover the theft until you apply for financing yourself and are unjustly turned down.

If you are not convinced of the importance of using an identity protector, here are some worst-case scenarios of how identity theft can affect lives:

One law-abiding citizen whose social security number had been mistakenly assigned to a murder suspect didn’t find out until he investigated why he had been turned down for so many jobs.  Unfortunately, he also lost his home before the mess was sorted out.

A woman in Massachusetts was denied insurance altogether because her medical record incorrectly indicated that her father had a hereditary disease.

A woman in California fresh out of law school showed up for her first day at a new job – only to be greeted by police officers and arrested.  The employer’s background check had showed a warrant for her arrest so they contacted authorities.  The warrant was for a crime that had been committed by someone who stole her identity.

An identity protector can alert you to certain changes, helping you to avoid becoming another worst-case scenario.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cyber Space and Identity Theft Protection Services

Recent advances in technology have made our lives a lot more convenient.  Does anyone remember writing out a paper check for multiple transactions during the course of an average day?  If you were going grocery shopping, needed to fill up at the gas station, and had to pay fees for some of your kids' sporting activities, it came to quite a few checks. Each one had to be carefully filled out by hand, recorded in a paper register and subtracted from your running balance.  How many of us sometime accrued overdraft fees because we were hurried and forgot to record a transaction or made a simple math error?  What a lot of frustration that was!

Technology has made it much easier for us to go about our daily activities using credit or debit cards that automatically total our purchases for us.  We pay once per month, possibly by using a paper check, or maybe you just bank online and transfer the money where it needs to go.  Very convenient and very few overdrafts and surcharges.

The down side to this increase in technology and convenience is that a lot of your sensitive financial information is online, and therefore subject to being hacked and stolen.  The average victim of such a theft spends 30 hours and $500 cleaning up the mess.  One instance of online identity theft and you have just spent the equivalent of several years worth of checkbook balancing and overdraft fees. This is the time to consider identity theft protection services.

What kind of identity theft protection service is right for keeping your online financial information safe?  Instead of spending a lot of time learning how to protect this information yourself, use a service that has expertise in this area.  Identity Guard® provides you with a suite of software tools for anti virus and anti malware protection, as well as key stroke encryption and a safe place to store all of your valuable passwords.  What's more, if you are a victim of this kind of theft, Identity Guard is still there for you.  Their knowledgeable professionals are just a toll free phone call away to help you decide on the best steps to minimize the damage from the theft.