Even before our reliance on the Internet, identity theft was a real threat. Now with digitization and far-reaching electronic highways, criminals can easily hide behind a computer and scrape together people’s personal information or just outright steal it.
It seems almost inevitable that most of us will be a victim at some point to one form or another of identity theft. To protect our time and money it is vital we have a strategy to keep the thieves out. To this, we use a three tiered approach.
Virtual Private Networks
A virtual private network (VPN) is a way to mask who you are when you are on the internet. If you have ever ready Harry Potter then thin of it as an invisibility cloak for your web surfing. You get to travel around the Internet and the VPN keeps you invisible to the hackers trying to intercept where you are going.
It also helps secure you when connecting to public Wifi. We put together an entire article giving you the details of What is a VPN to help you get a better understanding of how the services work and protect you.
If you are familiar or less interested in the technical and realize that a VPN is something every internet user should have, then head over to our VPN reviews page to see rating for all the top VPN service providers (and write ups on every provider we could find).
Secure Password Management
Strong passwords are the most underutilized part of protecting yourself online. I have even found myself using tired old easy to remember passwords from time to time.
The problem is that secure passwords are hard to remember. This means that you are safe but have the hassle of remembering which password goes with which service. It’s a pain and none of us want to do it.
This is where password managers comes in. Not only can it keep up with all your passwords it can also help you to create passwords that are almost unhackable. Our password management software reviews will help you pick the right option for your needs and get it at the best possible price.
Identity Theft Protection Services
The final wall in our protection against identity theft is to have a service that focuses on making sure, that when all else fails, you suffer the least amount of loss. To do this you need to have active monitoring of you identity and credit.
In order to help you with this last step we are continuously trying services and doing identity theft protection reviews. These reviews are in depth and will help you to pick a company that best meets your individual needs.
Top ID Theft Complaints
The Federal Trade Commission reported that identity theft tops the list of consumer complaints for the 14th consecutive year. Thirty percent of those complaints are tax or wage related with debt collection taking up another 10%.
One way that people are being proactive and shielding themselves from crime is by purchasing credit monitoring or Id protection. It is the equivalent to being more aware of your “digital” surroundings. These services can automatically scan and monitor many records that would be just too time consuming for an individual.
Many services will also minimize a person’s exposure by removing client’s information off of public lists and public websites. Many services have additional features designed to provide more security or even financial help as well as professional assistance should the worst happen.
A little protection goes along ways
Identity theft can potentially cost a person thousands of dollars to resolve. Money is not only lost directly through account theft, but there is also the potential for lost wages, refiling fees for loans or even the cost of a private investigator to unwind the worst fraud cases.
It is true that purchasing an identity theft protection service is seen by some as an unnecessary expense, but having the peace of mind of an extra layer of protection and help should the worst happen is invaluable to the millions who currently use these types of services.
When you weigh the monthly cost, a little insurance goes along way. Hopefully these theft protection reviews will help decide if a service is right for you.
Unexpected ways in which identity theft can harm you
Trigger an increase in auto insurance rates
With few exceptions all auto insurance companies use a person’s credit scores as a factor in setting rates. A victim of ID theft struggling to clean up their credit will of course have a lower score. A lower credit score can translate into insurance premium hikes of 10, 20, even 40% or more.
A common form of Identity theft is SSN-only. With more and more illegals trying to find work in the US it is not uncommon for them to use someone else’s social security number on a job application.
This enables them to meet the residency requirement for employment. Illegal aliens have sometimes worked for years earning income under someone else’s SSN. One day that victim will get a surprise when the IRS tries to collect on all the unpaid taxes for the extra income.
Gain a criminal record
Ever heard of an “Identity Theft Passport”? Some states have implemented the use of these passports to help those who’ve had their identity used by a criminal while committing a crime.
If a criminal gives your name or uses your faked or stolen driver’s license when they are arrested, it is possible you could later be arrested or even gain a criminal record. The problem is serious enough that some states have implemented Identity Theft Passports for victims of the crime.
According to the Government Health IT website and FBI estimates, medical fraud is costing Americans $234 billion annually. One aspect of this fraud is Medical ID theft. Med ID theft has a high street value and affects around 2 million people every year.
A scary side effect of medical identity theft is the creation of false medical records by criminals. This has lead to the wrong prescriptions, delayed treatments, and sometimes even a complete misdiagnosis of an illness.
For a few dollars a month anyone can add an extra layer of digital awareness. ID theft protection, credit protection, as well as help should the worst happen is not that expensive. Please use the identity theft protection reviews on this page to find the best service for your needs.
Getting Credit for the First Time
Building your credit from zero is relatively easy, but building credit starting out in the negative is REALLY hard. Child identity theft is a real problem as scammers get access to people’s credit, establish a decent report, and then trash it with a ton of fraud.
While there is no one method that will allow you to keep you and your family protected from identity thieves, using this three tier approach will keep you safer than any one service. We hope that these recommendations are the best you see and will be a real service to you. If you have any questions you can always contact us through the contact page.