Identity Theft Product Reviews

Identity Theft Services

Identity Guard
Price: $19.99/mo
Identity Guard Review
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ProtectMyId
Price: $12.95/mo
ProtectmyId Review
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Lifelock
Price: $9/mo
Lifelock Review
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TrustedId
Price: $10.42/mo
Trusted ID Review
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Identity Theft Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Types of Identity Theft Scams


What is Identity Theft?

According the FTC, identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Such personal information could include your Social Security number, date of birth, address or credit card number. It is estimated that 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.

This crime can include using your credit card to make purchases or using your address and credit report to get loans in your name. While some of these issues can be resolved quickly most others can take hundreds of dollars and days of your time spent correcting the fraud.


How do I know if my identity has been stolen?

Your best method to find out if someone has stolen your identity is to monitor you credit reports on a regular basis. You need to look for accounts that have been opened without your knowledge and addresses associated with your name that you are unaware of. While some of these may be errors on the reports don't let them continue, take action immediately to get them corrected.

It may be too late and your identity may have already been compromised. Here are some ways to know:

  • If you apply for a loan and are denied due to credit issues this could be a sign someone has opened other accounts in your name
  • You may start to receive calls from collection agencies for debts you don't know about.
  • You notice mail coming to you regarding an apartment you never rented or a house you never bought.

What is the best way to protect against identity theft?

Being aware of any changes to your personal information is the first step in fighting identity theft. Many people are uninformed or don't take the time to learn the warning signs of this crime. Monitor your credit reports regularly and look for anything out of the ordinary. You are ahead of the game just by reading this right now and your next step is to continue learning.

There are many companies that offer identity theft protection services, for a comparison chart click here. These companies will monitor your credit report for any changes and notify you if something occurs. They will also help get your credit back in order if something does happen and you can use their resources to minimize the effects.


What do thieves do with your information or identity?

After a thief has obtained your information there are a number of ways they can use it to their advantage.

Phone or utilities fraud:

  • They may use your name to get services such as electricity or heating.
  • They may want to cause you harm by opening accounts and running up charges.

Bank fraud:

  • Thieves may create counterfeit checks using your name and account numbers.
  • They may open a loan in your name and using your credit profile.

Credit card fraud:

  • Most commonly they will open new accounts to charge items to while not paying the bill.
  • They can change your address so you no longer receive bills and perhaps run up expenses on those cards you currently have.

These are just a few of the ways that identity theft can create a big problem for you and your family.


How much time will it take to correct identity theft?

There is no specific timeframe that it will last once the damage is done. A lot of this depends on when you catch the fraud and start to correct it. It could take months or years to fully repair your credit after a thief has stolen your identity. By using an identity theft protection company you can usually get immediate help from trained professionals. These experts know how to resolve these issues and protect against future attacks.

Always be aware and continually check your credit report.


What is Phishing?

In most cases phishing scams are in the form of emails from someone who wants to trick you into revealing your personally identifiable information. The victim will receive an email from what they believe is a trusted source such as their bank which asks them to update their information. Once the victim clicks on the link to update the info the program will capture their login credentials and allow access.


What is Smishing?

A combination of "phishing" and the use of Short Message Service (SMS) or better known as text messaging.

Most people like to win free things and when it is easily presented to you it can be a great way for identity theives to steal your information. Imagine if one of the many text messages you receive in a day happens to offer a free iphone or popular technology device. It may be hard to resist the temptation to click on the link in the text message which could be a scam known as 'smishing'. By clicking on the link it may include instructions to download harmful software to your phone which could allow criminals to access everything in your phone.


What is a database breach and how does it impact me?

When someone is able to steal customer financial information from a company it has had a data breach. In most cases this occurs when a hacker steals credit card or other banking information from companies that store thousands of such numbers. This allows the hacker to use or sell this information to others for fraudulent use.


What is Skimming?

When an identity thief applies a device to a credit card processing system which can enable them to read the information off your card. This can happen almost anywhere including gas stations, retail kiosks or even your bank ATM. The criminal will install the device which looks like it is a part of the existing credit card machine and when you swipe your card it can transmit that information to another computer for review. It is allows advisable to use trusted sources of business and make sure you report anything that is unusual to the store clerk if you are concerned.

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