6 Easy Steps To Prevent Identity Theft

Encryption is like an apple - it keeps the doctor away and it does so efficiently.

While other people feel hassled about encryption, it can be considered as your first step in preventing getting "sick" and having to visit the doctor. When you encrypt any information that you send in email messages, IMs or websites, you are actually one inch closer to evading identity theft and other online dangers that may be accrued when you expose your personal data.

What does encryption do?

Encryption was basically utilized to protect your personal information like driver's license, social security number, credit card numbers, bank account information, username, passwords, tax returns and everything personal about you. This new technology can protect your data even if it is simply stored in your computer and even as it is transmitted into the World Wide Web. For instance, if you encrypt a certain folder in your hard drive including all the files contained in it, when another person downloads the file into a USB flash disk and tries to open it using a different computer, the file will not be opened because it is encrypted and will only be opened using a special encryption software or have it returned and opened on the original computer.

How does encryption work?

Are you familiar with the game cryptoquip? It is actually a fun puzzle game where a short piece of encrypted text is presented. "Each letter stands for another letter"-this is the most basic rule so in order for you to make sense of jumble of letters in your paper, you have to substitute the letters with another letter. Of course, the fun is in guessing which letter stands for another letter.

That's how encryption works. However, this particular security technology uses not letters but complicated mathematical algorithms that jumble your digital data into something that can only be read by your computer and its intended recipient (if you're sending it online). If you are not the intended recipient, you can still encrypt the data and read the message provided that you have the right "key" to cipher the message or put the data back in its proper order. It's not a very complicated process and most companies who have developed encryption software for users have created them to be more user-friendly.

Wherever you go and whatever transaction you conduct online, there is always some sort of encryption that you will encounter. It's not an "odd thing" because it is often employed by various websites to secure transactions and personal data of clients and consumers from identity theft. For instance, if you are fond of online shopping, you will notice that before you enter your credit card information, you will see a pop-up message that will inform you that you are entering a secure site. A secure site means that every data sent over this connection will be encrypted so even if you key in your credit card number, you can be sure that it cannot be immediately intercepted and stolen by identity theft criminals.

Identity theft has become so prevalent in today’s society that no one is safe from it. Every day on the news we hear of hackers getting into a government database and stealing valuable information.
Identity theft is now so common that people struggle to find new ways to avoid it. In this article, I discuss 6 different ways to avoid identity theft, including how to use credit cards properly, using checks properly, and other pertinent information.
1. When ordering checks, always have the bank put only your first name, middle name initials on your new checks. A thief will not know if you sign your checks with your full name, or if you use your initials. However, the bank will know this, and see a red flag immediately if there is any change in your check writing behavior.
2. Never sign your name on the back of your credit card. Not only will the person stealing your identity have your name, but your signature, and will be able to forge it easily. Instead, write “PHOTO ID REQUIRED” on the back of the card.
3. When ever you write a check for your credit card bill, do not put the full credit card number in the “memo” or “for” line on the bottom left of the check. Only use the last 4 numbers of your Cc number here. The credit card number will be in full on your statement that you send in with your payment, and the people handling your check will not know the number of your credit card.
4. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. Also, never put your actual home address on the checks, using a PO Box instead. If you don’t have a PO Box number, then use your work address. Use your work number instead of your home phone number, also.
5. Always know exactly what you have in your wallet. The best way to do this is to simply photocopy the contents, insuring that you get both back and front of any credit card, operator’s license, or identity document. Keep this photocopy in a safe place where it can easily be located by both you and your spouse or significant other if traveling. Never carry it with you!
6. A little know fact is that when checking into a hotel or motel, you are generally issued a key card to open the door to your suite. Did you know that this card contains all your vital information, such as address, phone number, credit card number and expiration date? Do not turn the card in when checking out of the hotel, but instead simply destroy the card. It is included in the price of your room. And if turned in, any dishonest employee with access to a card reader can gather your information.
Using common sense and being aware of your environment can save you costly theft of your credit card or personal information. To insure this doesn’t happen, visit [http://identitytheft.charlieallnut.com] for more information.

Identity Theft Task Force – Robust Measures to Combat Identity Crime

Today it is not a secret to all that the crime rate is increasing and that we need to be careful. People always find ways to protect themselves. They learn martial arts, arm themselves, body guards and the like but this will result in more violence - other people are doing free background checks.

In the business world, employees or applicants undergo free background check. Employers want to secure their business so they make sure that the employees they hire are credible and trustworthy. There are instances that employers neglect to check the background of their employees and what they do not know is that their money is being stolen by the employees they trusted. Some employees' lives were put to danger because one o f the hired employees had a mental illness that the employer did not know about. So a simple free background check can save a lot of lives.

free background check

In America, President Bush established a task force on identity theft in 2006. This was comprised of 17 federal agencies and departments and is in the process of developing robust and reliable strategies to fight identity theft which will help both the government and private individuals to track, and report identity theft and other online crime and apprehend identity theft criminals.
Already recommendations have been produced to help fight the threat of identity theft. These mark a the beginnings of a concentrated effort on the part of the government in the US to fight the growing threat of identity theft which has led to many millions of victims and many billions of dollars of financial loss.
Amongst the proposals are measures that will:
– Provide help and advice to agencies when they fear their personal data has been breached or is at risk of being breached
– Adopt a universally accepted police report for victims of identity theft to aid the process of reporting and following up identity crime
– Help and advise victims of identity theft, many of whom fear financial ruin and severe personal loss
– Reduce the likelihood of Social Security numbers being accessed by identity thieves, ensuring that illegal misuse of this data is minimised
– Develop new authentication of identities and identification data
– Develop a more reliable and robust security network in the government
– Improve the response to breaches in government data theft
There are a variety of resources available both online and offline regarding identity theft. Help, advice and support is readily offered. People wishing further information may, first of all, visit the
Additional resources are available via a number of online at providers, mostly free.

Fraud Alerts – What You Need to Know About Them

Identity theft prevention services do not exactly prevent identity theft. They simply make it much harder for thieves to use the personal information they have stolen, thereby protecting you against many of the techniques identity thieves use.

We give away personal information all the time. Any time you write a check at the store, charge airline tickets, rent a car, mail your tax returns, change cell phone service providers, or apply for a credit card you are giving away bits of personal information, such as your bank and credit card account numbers, your Social Security number and your name, address, and phone number. These bits and pieces are a treasure trove to an identity thief. Once thieves have this information, they can use it without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft.

For example, identity thieves can take your personal information to redirect your financial data, such as bank and credit card statements, to prevent you from noticing that your existing credit card or bank account is being used without your knowledge. Identity theft prevention services prevent this from happening. This doesn't mean, of course, that a thief couldn't have charged things on a stolen credit card, only that you would know about it sooner...assuming you check your monthly statements.

Protection services also prevent new accounts from being set up by identity thieves in your name. This protection is important because the only way you would know this had happened was when you began to be harassed by collection agencies or when you try to get credit, only to find your credit rating has been trashed.

Identity theft prevention services also help you should the thieves be successful, in that they will help you with the police regarding warrants as well as assist you with getting collection agencies to stop harassing you for debts that aren't yours.

If you think that you don't need these services because, after all, if you report your credit cards stolen, you won't get charged for the bogus charges, think again. Identity thieves don't just use credit cards. They can set up new cell phone accounts in your name. They can take out a car loan in your name. They can give your name should they be arrested then, when they don't show up at court, a warrant is issued in your name!

Identity theft prevention services are inexpensive...generally around $100 a year per individual or $150 for households. If you aren't a careful type, guarding your personal information, reading your statements carefully and noticing if they don't arrive, shredding mail with identifying information, then an identity theft prevention service might be right for you.

Identity theft is a growing problem. And one way of controlling it is to be notified anytime a credit card or bank loan is opened under your name. Sure, you can check your credit report regularly, but in addition to that, it’s never a bad idea to call the three major credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your accounts.
What is a fraud alert? Fraud alerts are flags on your credit reports that notify creditors of possible fraud or unauthorized activity on your accounts. By placing a fraud alert on your credit report, this means that any time you, or someone else, opens up a new credit card, bank loan, or the like, you will be notified for clarification and authorization before anything is done by the creditor. Let’s take a walk-through on the process of placing a fraud alert.
First, call up the fraud department of each of the credit bureaus. It is best to use your cell phone for contact, since if you are at a store applying for credit, the creditors can reach you quickly and easily with that number. Ask to have your account flagged for fraud. Within 24 hours, this will be activated. You should also receive information in the mail regarding the confirmation of your placed fraud alert.
In addition to protecting your account, you will also be removed from pre-approved credit and insurance offers for two years after placement.
Once you place the fraud alert, your account will be flagged for up to 90 days. It does not automatically renew, and will drop off on it’s own after that 90 day period.
If you would like to have it applied for another 90 days, you will need contact the credit bureaus stating you would like it applied for longer. This will have to be done every 90 days. If you do not feel like keeping up on this, or don’t have the time, it is a great idea to consider services like TrustedID, Lifelock or Debix to do this for you–they will not only renew your fraud alerts every 90 days with the three credit bureaus, but they will also watch your credit report for suspicious activity and notify you every time an account is opened or activity shows as abnormal.
If you do not renew the fraud alert after 90 days, it will drop off and will no longer be in effect.
Sounds like a great idea. But what are the cons of placing a fraud alert?
The fraud alert does not apply to previously opened accounts. They only focus on new accounts opened after the fraud alert has been placed. This means your current credit cards and bank information will have to be monitored by you as well (or you can have a service do it for you).
Of course, renewing the alert every 90 days can be a hassle. If you have already become a victim of identity theft, you can add a victim statement to your credit report, which will stand for 7 years. In order to do this, you must have proof that you have already been victimized.
It’s always a good idea to notify creditors when applying that you have a fraud alert in place to protect yourself. This way you won’t surprise them with your flagged account and they will be assured that you know what is going on with your credit situation–something a criminal may not be in tune with.
Finally, if you want to remove a fraud alert before the 90 day period, you will need to send a written letter to the credit bureaus requesting so. Or, you can save yourself some time and postage by just letting the fraud alert expire in 90 days.
Follow the link below for another great article on fraud alerts that includes contact numbers as well.

Identity Theft Issues and Social Networking Sites

The term "bot" is for robot. Not the kind of robot you have seen in movies and television shows (does anyone remember 'Lost In Space'?) or the one at the car assembly plant. Bots are now one of the most complex types of crimeware on the Internet and therefore a significant tool for identity theft. Bots are a lot like worms and Trojans, except that they can perform a wide variety of automated tasks on behalf of their master who is usually located far, far away.

Bots can perform nasty tasks like sending spam that can blast a Web site right off the internet when the spam is part of a coordinated "denial of service" attack. A bot infected computer does the work for its master and that machine is known as a "zombie". Bots can enter your computer in several ways. They are able to search the internet for vulnerable and un-protected (Nawaz, please link to Symantec) computers and inject the infection. After infecting the machine they immediately report back to their master.

The bots objective now is to stay hidden until their master awakens them and assigns a task. Bots are so silent that the victim does not know of their existence until the Internet Service Provider notifies you that your computer has been spamming other Internet users. There are times when the bot will actually clean up an infected computer so that it will not get bumped off the victims machine by another identity thieves bot. Bots can also infect by being downloaded by a Trojan, installed by a malicious Web site or emailed directly to you from an existing infected computer.

Bots never work alone because they are part of a network of infected computers called a "botnet". Botnets are created by identity thieves/attackers who repeatedly infect victim's computers using one or several of the techniques already mentioned. Each zombie machine is controlled by a master computer called the command and control server. The cybercriminals/identity thieves manage their botnets and instruct their army of zombie computers from their command and control centre. Typically, a botnet is composed of a large number of victimized machines that stretch across the entire planet, from China to the U.S. Some botnets have a few hundred or few thousand computers; others have tens and even hundreds of thousands of zombies at their command.

Social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us and Digg.com where share lists of user-created Internet bookmarks are grouped together (and other applications) are growing in popularity. And so is identity theft among the social bookmarking users.
What happens is that people rush to sign up for the social bookmarking sites. They register and mindless begin filling out their profiles, sharing lots of personal information like date of birth, complete name and contact information / location (email, phone number, personal photos) and more. However, people most often don’t use the privacy settings offered by the sites, as they should.
Not only that, social networking site users also post to forums, blogs and chats about when they’re leaving town and going on vacation. Other information that should remain confidential is often shared, too, like which banks are used online, which sites with shopping carts, etc.
The results are identity theft, online and off. Offline, thieves find out when people won’t be home and break in to steal things: information, valuables, etc. Online, thieves also break in and steal using personal info to access accounts and use identities for their own personal and financial gain.
Social Networking Safety Tips
Get and stay safe with social networking sites using these helpful tips:
1) Use the site’s privacy settings and only share your profile information with family and trusted friends.
2) Watch what you do list online, regardless of privacy settings. A thief can take your digital photo and all other info and use your identity. Don’t give them all that ammunition. Upload a favorite animal or flower image, for example, instead of your face. List the nearest large city instead of the small town where you live. Use a nickname, maiden name or other identity listing.
3) Do not discuss out of town issues online. Period. No one needs to know when you’re going on vacation or even on business trips. Tell the about the trips AFTER you return. And don’t ask others about their plans, either, encouraging them to post their private info.
4) Alert your family members, friends and others to these security issues to help others be and stay safe, too.
5) If a social networking site doesn’t look safe or you can’t figure out the privacy settings, don’t use it. Go somewhere safe.
Things are always changing and growing on the web. So only interact where it’s safest for you. Practice identity theft protection 24/7!

Protect Your Creativity

Identity theft is a growing problem in the United States, occurring in small towns and cities alike. Identity theft, as defined by the federal government, refers to the use of another person's identity or identification to commit crime. Most often, the identity thief uses a person's identity to rob him or her blind, using credit cards or cash to purchase whatever they want.

How often does identity theft occur? Identity theft often occurs from stolen pieces of paper. Wallets are often stolen, and the combination of ID and credit cards can be used to steal one's identity. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center; studies from 2003 show that 7 million people suffered from identity theft within a twelve month period of time, equaling approximately 13.3 people per minute.

There are many things that you can do to keep yourself from experiencing identity theft. One of the first things you can do is protect your social security number. Do not get it printed on checks or on your driver's license. Next, purchase a paper shredder. Once you've purchased it, put it together, plug it in, and use it! When in doubt, don't toss it out. Shred it! Shred anything with your social security number, name and address, or any other pertinent information on it. In addition, keep a close watch on your checking account and credit card statements. Report anything unusual as soon as possible.

Another place where information can and often is stolen is through the internet. Be sure to protect your password and learn how to place password protection on any documents you feel need secured. Invest in a firewall to keep other computers from accessing your internet connection.

In addition to this, beware of WiFi. WiFi enables individuals to log onto the internet with their laptops at various "hot spots" like coffee houses and restaurants. While convenient, it is imperative that you understand that others are on the same connection with others and

can takes place. Avoid checking your bank account information or even logging into your e-mail while on this type of internet connection.

As an entrepreneur, you are undoubtedly blessed with the ability to come up with new ideas for products and services. Sometimes, a competitor comes up with a similar idea and manages to make money out of it before you do. A great deal of planning, money, time and effort are required to turn these ideas into invention and innovation.
Due to the often-enormous investment in both capital and brain power to turn an idea into a reality, it becomes essential to get reasonable legal protection. That’s why owners need intellectual property rights.
Intellectual Property Rights:
To secure rights over intellectual properties like literary work, animated movies, photographs and logos, the work must be original and should be presented in some tangible format like a book or audio CD.
The following tools provide right over intellectual property:
Patents: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office give protection to your innovative business methods and new products at legal costs ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. If you get your product patented, no one else can make or sell your invention without paying you a royalty.
While applying for patent, remember that your idea must be new and innovative and should not have been made public in any way.
Copyrights: These rights provide protection to the authors of literary, dramatic, musical and other intellectual works like audio-visual performances. You can get your work registered with the U.S. Copyright Office by paying a $45 basic fee. It is essential to prominently display the copyright symbol and a statement along with your work to avoid the infringement.
Trademarks: Any words, symbols, logos, graphics or images that create an identity for a brand can also be protected by trademarking them. A trademark application can be submitted online as well as in person. A trademark must be unique and original to get legal protection.
You can get reasonable legal protection for trade secrets as well. You can get it done by getting a non-disclosure agreement signed by everyone who knows your business secrets.
These days, it is easy to access any famous website, but, no one can copy images or data from these websites as they are also protected by the law. “Cyber- squishing” laws stop other web sites who try to imitate the trademarked web sites’ names. Companies can also get their products registered in other countries where they have viable markets.
Though registering your intellectual property is not mandatory, it just makes sense. Unless you are protected, you cannot claim damages, so it’s better to get your creative and innovative works registered. After all, protection is bliss.
You can also get help from lawyers and legal experts’ web sites for a more detailed understanding of the registration procedure.

RFID: California’s Identity Information Protection Act

Since the beginning of the Information Age, personal identity theft has flourished. Fraudulent transactions concerning large amounts of money are reported by thousands of people because unauthorized people have accessed accounts illegally.

Corporations are not immune to this type of crime. Corporate identity theft is the misuse of a company's identity for personal use.

Corporate identity theft comes in several forms: using a business name on an online merchant account, finding sensitive information in trash bins, hacking into a corporation's website to steal or corrupt date, or designing a website with a similar domain name to steal traffic that would have gone to the legitimate company.

Taking Preventive Measures

Corporate identity theft is preventable through various precautions.

Careful maintenance and security of your website is most critical. Most identity theft takes place online. Have IT staff monitor website access regularly, and include an email address on the home page for end users to report any unusual occurrences. For example, there have been cases in which a company website was hacked and pornographic material distributed through it. This company's professional image was tarnished by this act. Also, regularly check for domain names that are similar to yours, or be proactive and purchase commonly misspelled variations of your URL.

Another cause of rising corporate identity theft is that of misplaced paper documents. Misplaced hard documents are another cause of rising corporate identity theft. Shred all paper documents to percent sensitive data from being stolen.

Finally, secure your computer networks by regularly updating virus protection software, strengthening firewalls, adware and spyware blockers and changing passwords periodically. Develop a policy about Internet use and talk with your employees about it. By surfing the Internet during work hours, your employees may be putting the integrity of the company at risk by accessing sites with spyware or adware.

Consider these guidelines and you will ensure the greatest chance of avoiding corporate identity theft. Criminals are always scheming up ways to infiltrate your organization, no matter how secure you are. Remember that computer software and company policies are fallible. Keep your methods of protecting up to date and be vigilant about protecting sensitive material.

Utah introduced a bill designed to limit the use of RFID by state and county government. It was voted down. Maryland introduced a similar bill. It, too, was voted down. This is California’s second RFID bill. The first was… voted down.
So, California’s Bill No. 682 may not be an original idea, but it is important and relevant. And the strong bipartisan vote in favor of the bill is also important and relevant.
California Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) introduced the bill in February 2005. Yesterday the California state senate approved the bill in a 29 to 7 vote (21 Democrats and eight Republicans). If passed into law, the California bill will be the first legislation to limit the use of RFID.
An excerpt from bill 682: “This act would prohibit identification documents created, mandated, purchased or issued by various public entities from containing a contactless integrated circuit or other device that can broadcast personal information or enable personal information to be scanned remotely, except as specified.”
Nothing wrong with that.
RFID is amazing technology that represents tremendous positive potential. RFID may be the best tool we have to keep our prescription drug pipeline safe, to alert us when an Alzheimer’s patient wanders, or to warn us when our car tire is getting low.
It is not the best tool we have for identification.
New technology requires new vigilance. New uses of old technology also requre new vigilance. If we don’t make deliberate decisions about the role of RFID in our lives, someone else will. It is that simple.

Graphene Coatings to Protect

It is important you report any incidences of id theft to the necessary authorities, not only to protect your own financial accounts and good name, but also so that any further action that needs to be taken by various authorities is carried out. Those organizations and departments you need to inform include:

o Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - the FTC have a dedicated, toll-free identity theft hotline on 1-877-ID THEFT (877-438-4338), and are the department responsible for receiving complaints from anyone who believes they may have been a victim of identity theft crimes. The FTC provide help and support for identity theft victims, and there is a lot of information on this issue at their website ftc.com

o Law Enforcement Agencies - the police, FBI and US Secret Service are all involved in tackling identity theft crime, so if you do become a victim you should report the details to a local branch of these services.

o US Postal Service (USPS) - if you are concerned that your mail has been tampered or even redirected without your knowledge, then you should report this to the US Postal Inspections Service immediately.

o Social Security Administration (SSA) - you should report any suspicion of Social Security Number fraud immediately to the SSA on the dedicated fraud hotline 800-269-027.

o Internal Revenue Service (IRS) - if you suspect your identity has been used in conjunction with tax evasion or any other tax violations then you should contact the IRS as soon as possible on the dedicated fraud hotline 1-800-829-0433.

o Credit Agencies - you should report cases of identity theft to the main credit agencies, which will be able to take further action to protect consumer credit reports of those involved and investigate any fraudulent activity. To report identity theft to Equifax call (800) 525-6285, to Experian call (888) 397-3742 and to TransUnion call (800) 680-7289.

o Creditors and Financial Institutions- if you have any existing credit accounts such as loans, service agreements, bank accounts etc, then you will need to contact the providers as soon as possible if you suspect they may be vulnerable due to identity theft. This can prevent any fraudulent charges and debts from being run up on your accounts.

Graphene is a sheet of material that is ultra-thin and only one atom thick and thus will make an excellent coating for all sorts of things. You can just sit back and imagine how important such a coating could be and think of hundreds of great applications. For instance our Online Think Tank thought of quite a few. This might possibly sometime in the future prove to be the greatest new innovation of 2007. Below are a few simple applications for such a coating as a sample:
Imagine our vehicles coated with something that would protect them and keep them from decay from the harmful UV light rays. One more very strong layer of coating such a coating set on in layers might be the answer to keep Bus Wrap Advertising from flaking or coming apart.
How about keeping your tennis shoes looking good and saving you from forfeiting another $125.00 for then next pair simply because they look old and ratty? Of course the graphene would be flexible being so thin and would have applications in all types of clothing, back-packs and jackets.
Let’s face it these cell-phones get used an awful lot, in fact there were 16 Billion Text Messages Sent in 3-Months alone by T-Mobile customers. At that rate these phones will be completely worn out within less than a year. We cannot keep filling up our dumps with so many electric gadgets that are junk now. Perhaps you might think of a few applications for graphene?

Cyber Crime and Identity Theft Fact You Need Now

Have you ever fallen victim to identity theft? Have you ever lost your wallet or purse? Has your wallet or purse ever been stolen? If you answered yes to any of those questions then you understand the hassle that any of those thing can cause and the money that you can lose because of them. Protection from identity theft is becoming as common as car or health insurance and until the government finds it to be a priority it is up to us to protect ourselves from identity theft.

Here is a true story for you......

Travis was a friend of mine that liked to eat out on a regular basis. He really enjoyed the atmosphere of a restaurant and since he was a bachelor he often took his dates out to the new and trendy restaurants. He almost always paid with a credit card and never would have thought that he was at risk.

Travis was having some car troubles and decided it was time to get a new car. He started shopping around online and at a few local dealerships, and eventually settled on one specific car. He went to the dealership figuring he would drive it home that day. He was sure he had great credit and had plenty of money on his credit card for the down payment.

Travis was not surprised to find out that he qualified for the car, but was surprised to find out that he only qualified if he put 30% of the price down. He was told that his credit was poor at best and was shocked. Travis decided that since he had a high limit on his credit card he would go ahead and put the money down that they were asking and drive the car home, but was shocked once again when his card was declined for a little over $4,000. He had a $25,000 limit and had always paid his card off every month.

After looking into his credit he found that there were three outstanding car loans in his name, 6 credit cards with high limits, a boat loan, and a personal loan that were not his. His identity had been stolen and it happened at one of the restaurants he went to. Since he always wrote "See ID" on his credit cards one of his servers had taken his name, address, social security number, credit card number, and birth date right off his Id and credit card. The server, then sold the information to a third party who was able to get a fake id, credit cards, and loans in Travis' name. This is what the company he hired to look into his situation told him had most likely happened. The thieves were never caught and Travis ended up having to file bankruptcy to clear his name.

Could you imagine having to go through bankruptcy while someone else is driving a car, partying on a boat, and running up credit cards in your name? Protection from identity theft is a must anymore and without it you could be the one out of four that gets your identity stolen.

Do you ever worry about having your identity stolen by online cyber-criminals? Maybe you haven’t thought that much about it, or don’t know anyone that has had a problem with it yet. You may be shocked to know that identity theft and online theft of credit card information are the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Here are some facts to ponder.
There are many ways that you can have your identity stolen, and also many reasons that people want to steal your identity. In most cases, theft of your identity is to actually setup a new identity with the same information, only a different address in another city or even another state. This way the person can open up credit cards and lines of credit using your information, and sending the bills to their new phony address. In some cases, online cyber-criminals just want your credit card information so they can rack up some quick purchases. By the time you realize you’ve been had, it’s usually too late. And naturally they don’t pay the bill when it comes due, so it hurts your credit and your financial future.
Don’t see this as the only reason online predators will steal your identity. There is also an underground market for American social security cards in this country, which are then purchased by illegal aliens so they can find work. The numbers are hard to pinpoint exactly, but it’s estimated that many thousands of Americans have their social security numbers used for illegal purposes every year. In many cases, the number will be posted on an online chat room and stolen by many different people, used over and over for cyber-crime. This is most people’s worst nightmare, and it happens more each year.
So what can be done to stop or at least minimize your chances of having your identity stolen by cyber-criminals? Take steps to protect yourself online by changing passwords frequently and making them more secure, especially credit card and banking logins. Be proactive by checking your financial accounts on at least a weekly basis, to see if any charges have been made you aren’t aware of or haven’t authorized. It may sound obvious, but never throw away anything with your bank information, credit card number, or social security number on it unless it is shredded completely by a high-end shredder (ones that make confetti, not just strips of paper).
Protecting yourself online also means never trust any email that asks for personal information. Remember, your bank and credit card companies will never ask you for this information, especially your password. If there is ever a problem with your bank account, they will send it through the mail directly. Phishing scams have become almost a daily occurrence, even a joke to many. The prince of Nigeria wants to send you money? Don’t believe it, and don’t believe anybody that wants to send you a check after you simply forfeit your credit card number for “security purposes”. These scams sound silly and stupid, but every year people fall for them. They get more sophisticated in nature every year too, so just be aware.
Of course for the ultimate in peace of mind, get protection and monitoring of your information by a company that specializes in this service. Many banks have a program that you can sign up for called “identity insurance” which basically bails you out after the fact. That’s better than nothing, but wouldn’t you rather have a company monitoring your information 24/7 to make sure it doesn’t get stolen? There are several companies such as Lifelock that provide this service for a reasonable charge. Perhaps it’s time to secure your information before it’s too late.

Identity Theft – How to Survive Identity Theft

The number of people that have been victimized by identity theft and credit card fraud is on the rise. Each year, the losses from these cases amount to hundred of thousands, if not millions of dollars. Because of the alarming costs and the steady increase in number of cases; firms that offer protection against the crime are also multiplying. These firms offer protection and assistance in the unfortunate event that a client does get entangled in an Identity theft and credit fraud dispute.

But the fact is, most people don't need to resort to availing the services of such firms, as long as time is available and patience is practiced. Protecting yourself from identity theft can be as simple as being cautious to whom you give your personal information or something like setting up fraud alerts for your credit cards. Below are some tips that can help you prevent identity theft easily.

CAUTION - this is probably the foremost advice that is given to anyone when identity theft is talked about. Beware who you give your personal information to. Be careful about giving away credit card numbers and your social security numbers; even employee ID numbers and Passport numbers can be used in performing identity theft and fraud. Beware also of sending the mentioned numbers and details over unsecured email connections and even shady online stores.

NO TO PRE-APPROVED CREDIT CARDS AND JUNK MAIL - One of the main functions provided by some identity theft protection firms is to remove your name from the list of pre-approved credit cards and junk mail. This is done because some identity thieves can use this in getting your information. You can do this task by simply not responding to junk email and pre-approved credit card offer.

If you do want them to stop arriving, you can contact the customer support numbers listed on the mail that you receive. That way, you can request that they take your name off their list. This can be very taxing, but the result is that you no longer get pesky junk mail, plus you eliminate a potential source where thieves can get hold of your sensitive info.

ANTI-SPYWARE - Thieves getting your information via the web may seem like something straight out of a John Grisham novel, but it can indeed happen. More people have fallen victim to identity theft and credit fraud than in any other way. What is spyware you ask? Spyware is a Computer Software that is installed in your computer without you knowing. It can be installed manually - someone gets in physical contact with your PC. It can also be installed remotely; anyone anywhere can easily install a Spyware program just by using their own computer. You can also download Spyware unknowingly when you download unsecured shareware.

Spyware works by monitoring your activity on the computer and stealthily sending it to another. It can gather important information such as passwords, frequented sites, birth date and other personal info. This can be exploited by tedious hackers and use the data to represent you in fraudulent transactions.

In July 2003 my identity was stolen. Why would someone steal my identity? I had bad credit, a poor credit rating and no money. Apparently, all identity thieves want is your information because the thieves were able to get credit from companies that had refused me credit just weeks earlier. So, no one is immune from these vultures.
One Saturday morning during a daily inspection I noticed money missing from my account. I immediately went through all the checks that had been cashed and found a forgery. The signature wasn’t even close to mine but the bank cashed it anyway. Furthermore, I was shocked when I discovered my driver’s license number on the back of the check. It was obvious that not only had my checks been stolen but my identity had been stolen as well.
I took
and removed as much money from my checking account as the ATM would allow. I then began checking all of my credit card statements to see if there were any charges I didn’t recognize. All seemed well. So, I prepared to race to the bank first thing Monday morning.
When I arrived at my bank, I quickly sought out an account representative and explained my predicament. The account representative helped me close my account and open a new one. I filled out the necessary papers to get back the money already taken from my account and obtained a notarized statement (Affidavit of Forgery) from the bank that the check I found was indeed a forgery.
Next I went home, called the sheriff and reported the forgery. A deputy came to my house, took my information and issued a case number. The very next day I went to the county clerks office and obtained a copy of the crime report.
Finally, I called the credit bureaus to notify them that I had my identity stolen and requested a credit watch be issued for me.
It was not long into this ordeal, I realized that I was alone. The Social Security Office told me I could not get a new number and it was my responsibility to monitor my account. The driver’s license bureau told me I could not get a new license number and it was my responsibility to monitor my record. The sheriffs department had no interest in what I had found out about my case and wouldn’t take my information. Nobody cared and I was on my own.
During the next few days several bills and notices of credit began to show up in my mail box. I called the credit department of a store that had issued the thieves credit to inquire how much of my information had been stolen. I was able to determine that they knew my address, social security, driver’s license and birth date.
I had to take action and take it quickly. I was determined not to pay for anything that was not created by me.
These items would be my weapons for the up and coming battles with businesses and their debt collectors.

Are Identity Theft Programs Really Effective?

In the United States, an intruder enters a home every 14 seconds. A break-in can cost several thousands of dollars in damages and losses. Many of these home intrusions can be prevented if the home is equipped with a security system.

When you think of home security systems, the function that comes to mind first is probably intrusion detection. Although that is one of the most sought-after advantages of having a home security system, it is by no means the only one.

Home security systems offer a complete sense of security by protecting a home and everything in it from a variety of dangerous situations. The home, along with its occupants and all of their belongings, can be kept safe at all times with the technologically advanced home security systems available today.

Intrusion detection is, of course, a fundamental component of home security. Today's systems can include motion detection, security cameras, and automatic police notification if an incident should occur. They may even include cameras which can monitor and record movement on and around the property.

But there are other functions that homeowners find just as valuable. Driveway alarms are a popular feature that many homeowners use. These alarms can provide early notification of visitors as well as let homeowners know when unwelcome parties are sneaking around the property. Most driveway alarms are inconspicuous and allow the homeowner to monitor their property without making it clear that the alarm is in place.

Pool alarms are another valuable part of home security systems. These alarms let the homeowner know when someone is in their above-ground or in-ground pool. This notification can save countless lives, especially in homes where small children and pets may fall into the water.

Fire detection is one of the core parts of a home security system, yet it is often overlooked by potential buyers. Smoke alarms and fire alarms that are integrated with the home security system can alert the authorities to a fire before it spreads out of control.

The fire detection function can be especially essential when everyone is away from home. If there is no one around to put out a small fire or alert the fire department, it can often consume the entire home before neighbors notice and call for help. But an integrated fire detection system can notify the fire department quickly, often allowing firefighters to minimize the damage to the home.

Many homeowners think that they can't afford the protection of a home security system. However, the cost is extremely reasonable when you consider the amount of protection it provides your home and family. Many home insurance providers will even give you a discount on your insurance rates if you let them know that you have a home security system.

Every home can benefit from the installation of a home security system. Even if you've invested in the best door and window locks, a home security system provides additional peace of mind. Knowing that your home is safe whether you're inside it or not is a great feeling.

As time goes on identity theft is only getting worse and becoming more prevalent. All of us are at risk for ID theft as each one of us owns a separate and distinct identity. So it is safe to say that we all have something to lose here. However, the level of your risk to this crime depends on your affiliation with certain financial institutes, level of exposure, and the country you belong to. A country where processes are highly automated and the usage of computers and the internet are more popular makes people more prone to having their identities stolen.
Since all of us have something to lose and we all have something that ID thieves want, this should be an issue that all of us are aware of. But what can be done about such a prolific crime? Well, being cautious and staying on guard at all times is a perfectly suitable answer. But is that really sufficient? Let’s take a look at the identity theft protection programs offered by 3rd parties and what increased protection they offer.
Identity theft programs are third-party initiatives that help monitor your credit reports, maintain fraud alerts, monitor address changes on your account, provide lists of credit applications under your name, and offer other such services. However, this means that on the one hand your aim is to safeguard your personal information from falling into the wrong hands and on the other hand you are trusting a third-party and sharing all this information with them. Seems like a paradox doesn’t it?
It has been proven time and time again that self-monitoring and staying on guard can really help you avoid the threat of identity theft. But those with some kind of ID theft prevention service are much less likely to fall victim to this growing crime. Why? Because programs like Lifelock make it virtually impossible for an unauthorized user to use your name to open an account or apply for a credit card.