Identity Theft: They Can Even Steal Your Tax Returns

Concerns raised over caller ID un-blocker

Some unsuspecting callers expecting their privacy to be protected and personal identifying information to be blocked will be surprised to hear about a new service than unblocks the data. TrapCall.com has launched a service that lets some AT&T or T-Mobile USA users see caller's private personal identifying information even if it is blocked, reports the Associated Press. The service, intended to help people receiving harassing messages and multiple calls, has provoked concern from victim's privacy rights advocates, says the news source.

According to the victim assistance coordinator at the Warsaw, Indiana police department, victims of abuse may be adversely impacted by this service as they typically try to keep contact details private and personal identifying information anonymous when reaching out to abusers, says the article.

Becky Moreno is quoted as saying in the piece, "This program doesn't distinguish between those who really need to stay anonymous and those [who] just do it for other reasons."

While basic services from TrapCall.com are free, more advanced services will incur a charge. Keeping personal identifying information private is an ongoing battle. Consumers have long been urged to protect their identity when surfing or purchasing online, but identity fraud schemes involving telephone calls and now text messages are becoming increasingly more common.

Medical services are potential booty for ID thieves

In addition to tainting your credit report, identity theft may also give hackers the means to access your private personal medical records and other identifying information to receive services and products on your dime. According to a new article in the Dallas Morning News, a growing number of medical identity theft victims say that medical services were obtained after they experienced a breach of privacy and personal identifying information.

Like experts who advise close review of your

, many also say it is important to check carefully the statement of benefits sent by your insurance provider for evidence of medical identity theft.

Keep an eye on your health insurance card as if it were a credit card, says the news source.

The Dallas Morning News reminds people that medical information - which includes your personal details - is often viewed or used by a variety of hospital personnel including doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and administrative employees. Patients' personal identifying information and medical health records are more susceptible to identity theft breach than some may think, according to a new Dartmouth College study.

SCMagazineUS.com recently reported on the study's findings which show that healthcare organizations storing data in unencrypted formats like Word documents and PDFs is one reason data may be compromised.

With the increased growth of identity theft throughout the world, including the U. S., it pays to be vigilant. Over 56 billion dollars was stolen via identity theft and other identity crimes in 2005 and this figure is set to rise despite the increase in resources being thrown at the criminality.
Thieves usually target bank accounts and credit cards, but can also try and steal your identity for online activities such as eBay, Papal and your online bank accounts.
A rather unusual form of identity theft was uncovered in Wetumpka. A citizen went to file his income tax return with the IRS hoping, I believe, to get a refund. Imagine his surprise when he found that his tax returns had already been filed with somebody using his identity. This is a very true and worrying story.
The suspect appears to have used his own picture on a false driving license and therefore used this to claim the victim’s name and social security number. When the victim of this crime went to file his income tax return, he was hoping for a significant refund. The IRS stated that the income tax return had already been filed and the tax return had been completed.
Always keep your personal details and data secure. Don’t carry data around with you that you don’t need. Ensure that all personal documentation and identification data is shredded or burned and never give your personal details out over to the phone to somebody that you don’t know.

How to Protect Yourself From Gas Station Credit Card Theft

Imagine a life without any of your familiar gadgets like cell phones, laptop computers, iPods, mp3 players and more. Can you even visualize how life would be like when these are taken away from you? I don't.

And I firmly believe that I am not the only one who feels that way. It is my strong conviction that people CANNOT live without their gadgets because, at one point or another, life (and practically everything that we do) became easier and simpler with these equipments. What resulted then is the creation of a culture and population that is highly dependent on gadgets that is not willing to give up these gadgets because that would mean learning new habits and having a totally different life.

If you don't want your life to be altered, then you need some sort of protection for your gadgets as identity theft criminals have their eyes on these gadgets. They will always try to steal them from you because they are treasure chests of valuable information.

1. Be as generic as possible. When you store your phone numbers into your contact or address book, keep the names broad and common. For instance, if you are going to save your husband's name, key in your husband's name and not as "hubby" or "sweetheart." Avoid monikers because if the identity theft criminal cannot get your personal information, then they can access your husband's.

2. Leave owner information blank. Most gadgets would often require you to enter some sort of owner information that would include some very personal information about yourself. Now, this can be a true treasure for identity theft criminals. If you happen to have these data in your gear or gadget, make sure that your device is always locked and protected with a password that cannot be easily guessed.

3. Avoid putting all your devices in one place. If you are travelling, avoid putting all your gadgets in one compartment or bag. Women are often guilty about this crime because they usually carry purses and they put all their devices inside. Once the purse or bag is stolen, then every device that is owned gets stolen as well. Depending on which device is stolen, a substantial amount of information will be enough to steal your identity and expose you to identity theft.

4. Inform your kids of the risks of identity theft. Kids these days have as much gadget (and even more) as their parents and as you may already know, your kid's identity is just as valuable as yours. Their devices will contain the same information as yours and their identity is also at risk of being stolen. You have to educate them that when these devices are stolen, they can be exposed to identity theft which can significantly alter their future. Tell them that there must be some limit on the amount of personal information that they should input in their devices so that even if those are stolen, they will not put themselves in so much risk. You also have to purchase some sort of storage device for their gadgets so that you will be assured that their devices will be in their possession at all times.

There are some huge problems with credit card theft at gas stations recently. These aren’t issues with people physically taking the cards from you, but using technology to steal your card number and pin numbers. Find out how this is happening and how to protect yourself.
How does this happen to you?
There are criminals who add strips to the pump where you swipe your card. These will read your credit card numbers as it scans it. They keypads on many pumps are altered as well to measure the keystrokes made on them meaning the pin numbers can be stolen as well. This happens everyday and people aren’t even aware that it is happening to them.
What can you do to prevent this problem?
If you want to avoid having your credit card number stolen at the pump, just go inside and pay with your card. This guarantees that it won’t be happening to you outside at the pump.
Look at the pump before you use the card function on it. Does everything look right? Does the scanner look a bit larger than normal? Does it look tampered with? If so, tell the cashier in the store and do not use your credit card with that pump.
Typically these devices are installed on the pumps that are out of the view of the cashier. The reason is that they are easier to install in places less likely to be caught. Using the pumps closest to the station within view of the cashier are more likely to not be tampered with at all.
Be sure that you are always monitoring your card purchases carefully. View your statement looking for anything that is out of place. It’s very common to have issues with credit cards whether it’s from stolen numbers at a gas pump or other forms of identity or card theft.

Is LifeLock Worth It?

... we take a peek through some of art's most creative uses of the doorway...

The door is a humble beast to many. On an average day, we encounter more than twenty; yet these are key architectural features which are most often made to be wandered through rather than dwelled upon. But it deserves much more attention - for some amusingly diverse reasons.

When you are decorating your home, or framing the front of your house, the material, finish and durability of the doors is an issue not to be overlooked. Even if you don't normally pay attention to a door, you'll definitely notice the benefit of going to experts such as Todd Doors. Todd doors will bring the kind of good timberwork and ironmongery which suddenly becomes rather conspicuous when absent.

And now that this oft-overlooked architectural feature is under our microscope, it begins to reveal ever more intriguing secret lives and sub-categories. Whilst our everyday relationship with the door of our house or office is usually one of absent-mindedness, the concept of entrances and enclosures, portals to new worlds or a symbol of enclosure and obstruction, has been fuelling artists and thinkers from Plato to J M Coetzee.

In 1950, an inconspicuous wardrobe opening became a door to a magical world of animal-human hybrids, talking messianic lions and warring witches in CS Lewis' allegorical The Chronicles of Narnia. It was the dynamic catalyst for the shift from mundane life as an evacuee to fantasy adventure; a powerful metaphor for escapism amidst world war and also a thinly-veiled argument for Christianity.

Other artists have found metaphorical and symbolic doors in other realms, most commonly in the mind. In his 1790 epic poem The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake re-figured the mind as a building, full of locked entryways and barred windows when he wrote:

"If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern."

This observation has inspired some of the most famous artists of the last one hundred years. Blake's concept became a cornerstone of the exploration of chemically-induced states of ecstasy and lucidity in art and science in the twentieth century. It was used most notably as the title of Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception, a record of the writer's experience of mescaline from the peyote cactus - which then inspired a little-known L.A. band called The Doors to worldwide fame.

The group, fronted by Jim Morrison, brought the notion of breaking through psychological - and social, political and physical barriers - to millions, with psychedelic pop and acid-twinged lyrics. Despite Morrison's death in 1971, the band's popularity persisted, with current record sales now over 90 million. It seems that a door is not just a door after all.

LifeLock is worth it because all it takes is $10 a month for peace of mind. And you don’t even have to remember paying; it is billed to you automatically. But most importantly, it is worth it because of the services it provides.
Here is a list of its services:
1. Free fraud alerts
2. Removal of your name from pre-approved credit card and junk mail lists
3. Automatic delivery of credit reports to you
4. Cancellation of all affected accounts in the event of loss of wallet
5. Monitors the internet for illegal trading of your personal information
6. Informs you of address changes associated with your name
7. Reimbursement of up to $1,000,000 should your identity be compromised while you are a member
LifeLock asks that credit bureaus set free fraud alerts on your behalf, every 90 days. This is done in an automated manner but when there is a hitch, the task is performed manually, and you are informed because the bureaus have a different address filed on you. You could do this yourself every 90 days. Just make sure you have the right information and that you do it like clock-work every 90 days.
Junk mail is how thieves can easily steal your identity. Stop this possibility and get rid of junk mail once and for all. LifeLock is worth it for this alone.
If you should ever lose your wallet, all you have to do is call LifeLock, anytime, anywhere. They have a specialist who will cancel all your affected accounts by dealing with each of the company, and do all the necessary paper work for your replacements (of course, you will pay these companies replacement fees and anything else they require such as pictures of you). Anything; driver’s license, social security card, credit cards, debit cards, insurance cards, traveler’s checks, check-book, etc. Are you sure you want to do this yourself? LifeLock is worth it because it does all this for you at no extra cost.
There are some things that you can do yourself for free but how justified is that against $10 a month? Can you be sure that your memory will not fail you at some point? Are you systematic enough to have the information you need when you are checking? Will you have problems with procrastination? Do you know exactly what to do? Do you have the time for all this and is all this worth $10 to you, or $30 (for three months)? Do you have a $1,000,000 back-up if you need to recover your identity?
What about things that you cannot do for yourself? Will you always know it if someone was really stealing your identity? Or identity theft is something that you think won’t happen to you? Then why do you buy insurance, or why do much of the rest of the world buy insurance? Accidents don’t happen and neither do diseases. Not when you don’t expect them to anyway.
But the question is not whether you expect it or not. It is in case it happens, you can be assured that you are protected; you are not alone in your predicament. You can be assured of help. That LifeLock is worth it is a no brainer.

How to Prevent Identity Theft Online

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!

Identity theft is now one of the most common crimes all over the world. While the Internet is a fantastic tool to find information and make purchases, it can also be used for more fraudulent purposes. Identity theft is a process where a criminal will steal information such as credit card details, banking information, Social Security numbers, and so forth. This information is then used to make purchases online, drain bank accounts of commit any number of other fraudulent transactions. With this in mind here some steps you can take to help prevent identity theft online.
1. Make sure that you never give out any details about your Social Security number when you are online. There is no reason for anyone to ever ask this of you on a website. So make sure you keep the details to yourself.
2. When you are making purchases online ensure that there is a secure server handling the information. Make sure that there is a little lock icon present in the bottom of your screen, or see if there is an “s” at the end of the Http protocol, i.e. http(s). If you are in doubt about security of the website or connection, do not make the purchase. It is better to purchase from another website than risk having your identity stolen.
3. Make sure that your computer has a good anti-virus software installed. With one of these in place, Internet I.D. criminals will find it much more difficult to obtain your financial information. Anti-virus programs are not very expensive but they are an essential component for anyone who uses the Internet. Free antivirus programs you can install are AGV Free, and Avast!, both of which provide excellent anti-virus protection.
4. Never give out your pin number, password or other login information relating to your bank and credit card accounts online, unless you are sure you are on the actual financial institution website. Once again there is no reason for any website other than your band to ask for these details. If in doubt, click off the website and do not return.
Finally, knowing how to prevent identity theft online is one way to make sure that you are protected against criminals who will try to do you financial harm. Unfortunately this is a growing problem but if you know how to guard against identity theft you will be able to protect yourself

How Do I Protect Myself From Identity Theft? – The Reality Of Criminal or Character Identity Theft

Here in the actual world, your mail provides you with the utmost risk with regard to the incidence of identity theft. You must be attentive as well as protective of your mail, especially your credit bills, because it contains your personal information, which may be greatly useful for identity thieves. You should remember that your mail is the most tangible and accessible item that identity thieves can conveniently get their hands into.

You may be required to change some of your mailing habits for you to further prevent identity thieves coming your way. So for you to provide protection to yourself through your mail here are a few tips that you should commit into memory.

Get to know the postman. You can observe, or better yet ask him, of his schedule and examine the delivery patterns and intervals of all the letters that you receive.

Just after your mail is delivered, immediately get hold of it. Or if you plan to send a particular mail, especially bills, you must avoid placing it inside your mailbox. Instead, you could drop them off to the post office on your way to work.

If you would rather let your mail stay in you mailbox, then you could buy a lock to keep all your letters safe. A postman could just slip mails into it, while you are the only person who could open it.

A post office box is a cheap way of storing your ingoing mails. You can rent one through your postal service. This is a particularly useful and safe way, especially if you are mostly not around your street to get your mail.

This may sound conflicting as when you thought that online accounts are more risky. You might think that online payments and using online banking services may make you more susceptible to identity theft, but you are wrong. Yes, you read it right. The risk of online transactions is less likely than having your mail delivered through your mailbox. As mentioned earlier, mails can be easily stolen by identity culprits, thereby putting you at a greater risk. So if you have not tried using online payments, you better try it now.

Indeed, a lot of things have changed in a world where safety and security was once abundant. These days, mail could no longer be left lying in your mailbox. We will stress once more that mails, especially bills, contain a variety of important personal information.

Thus, you should always remember that you must not only be careful with where you leave your mails, but you should just be as cautious with everything else that you do. Identity culprits do not only target your mail, but just about everything that may provide further information about you. And these pieces of information are all identity thieves need to cause havoc in your life.

Watching movies like
have culturally shown how criminal identity theft can be used in modern society to protect those who have done wrong. Making us ask How do I protect myself from Identity Theft? Unfortunately, criminal/character identity theft is all too common in modern society and it can be incredibly hard for the victims of this type of identity theft to get back to normality afterwards.
This article looks closely at the effect that criminal identity theft has on the victims of the charade. When criminals present personal information of another person to the police, the innocent victim could find warrants released for their arrests and even checks into their family and working life.
Once a misunderstanding has been cleared, the process of clearing an innocent person’s name can be a long one and sometimes, may not even be foolproof. The trauma of having an identity used illegitimately can be punctuated by court appearances which are required for the innocent to be cleared of charges and by identity checks like fingerprinting to prove identity.
After all of these processes have been completed, it may not be guaranteed that the identity fraudulently used has the spotless criminal record of before. Years from the incident, background checks can possibly bring up incidents that the person was wrongly accused of and the person’s identity may need to be recorded down in police files as a potential alias for the criminal, depending on how serious the crimes really are.
Many people ask how I can protect myself from identity theft and the answer is simple. Do not be reckless with the information you give about yourself online, as the fragments of personal information you share on a plethora of websites could be surmounted to establish a relatively complete profile of your identity as a whole, an identity which could ruin you for life.

Identity Theft Statistics You Should Be Aware Of

Identity Theft is the fastest growing white-collar crime in America today. In 2005-2006, 15 Million Americans had their identities stolen. That's a new victim every two seconds! The Federal Trade Commission (FDC) reported that a stolen ID is used an average of 30 times before the victim finds out about it.

This also means it can take up to one year before you become aware your identity has been stolen. In fact, as you are reading this article, you may already be an Identity Theft victim and not even know it. Scary to contemplate, isn't it?

Although the statistics are grim, you can take pro-active steps today to protect yourself and your loved ones. To accomplish this, you need to know which types of personal information identity thieves are stealing to commit crimes.

Here are the five most common types:

* Driver's license ID Theft: The information on your stolen driver's license provides your name, address, and date of birth, as well as a State driver's identity number. Thieves use this information to apply for loans; credit cards; open bank accounts to obtain checking accounts; buy cars, homes, boats, stereo equipment, jewelry, anything of value - all charged to you. Most driver's licenses also have your street address on them. So the thieves know where you live and can rob you and your home and/or commit other horrendous crimes against you and your family.

* Social Security ID Theft: Thieves use this information for all of the luxuries listed above, as well as obtaining new Social Security cards (claiming the old one was "lost") to obtain Social Security benefits you worked all of your adult life for; welfare benefits; HUD benefits, including housing vouchers; medical and dental care; and to obtain false passports to be able to slip in and out of the U.S.A. without apprehension.

* Medical ID Theft: ID Thieves use your medical information to file false workers' compensation claims; have surgeries, including cosmetic surgeries, often to alter their appearances to avoid being recognized for previous crimes; to file for other Social Security benefits, such as phony disability claims and/or false medical liability claims, including insurance claims; and to have medical procedures done for legitimate health problems but you get stuck with the enormous hospital and doctor's bills.

* Character/Criminal ID Theft: ID Thieves commit crimes, posing as you! Consequently, you could apply for a job or get pulled over by the police for a burned out tail light on your car, and end up getting arrested for a murder or bank robbery or some other felony you know absolutely nothing about. It then becomes your difficult job to try to convince the local police and court that you are really the victim and are indeed innocent of the crimes committed in your good name.

* Financial ID Theft: Although there is obviously overlap between some of these types of ID Theft, this category specifically and more completely involves a crminal posing as you to empty your bank account(s); financial holdings; remove any valuables you may have in storage in bank vaults; steal any off-shore assets and/or international financial assets or bank accounts; and buy and sell expensive properties such as homes, cars, land, or businesses; and apply for loans and credit cards or credit accounts and quickly run up the tabs on these accounts to their maximum limits, for which you will be held accountable by the companies who approved of the loans and accounts in the first place.

The good news is: the FDC has quickly responded to these new crimes and law enforcement is working closely with other government agencies to apprehend these criminals and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. Thanks to many members of the Senate and Congress, bills have been introduced and new laws are being passed to help victims of Identity Theft restore their credit and good names in a more efficient and timely manner. One such law is "The Identity Theft Protection Act". It eases the burden of the victim's financial liability for falsely incurred debt and exonerates the victim of the other crimes committed in the his/her name.

In the meantime, moniter your personal information closely, as well as your bank account and credit card statements. Get copies of all your national credit reports at least annually. Cross-shred all personal information not needed, credit card offers, junk mail, and anything with your personal information on it.

If for any reason you suspect you or your loved one(s) - including your children - may be a victim of Identity theft, take ACTION immediately. Call the Credit Bureaus, the banks, credit card companies, and whatever entity may be involved, to file a report; have your accounts "flagged" for possible Identity Theft activity; close bogus accounts; freeze bank and credit card accounts and follow-up on any suspicious activity. Please read my previous article: "How To Prevent Identity Theft". I discuss the specifics of protecting yourself in that article.

Knowledge is Power. Educate yourself and your friends and family about these types of crimes. Most importantly, know what steps you can all take to protect yourselves and your good names.

Sincerely,

Jennifer M. Forest

It is important to understand that identity theft is a fast-growing crime. It is also important to know just how your identity can be stolen and how to protect against it. Try to keep as up-to-date as possible in this growing epidemic, and to know who is most likely to be a target.
Statistics for Identity Theft for 2006
Each year, the Federal Trade Commission compiles a list of statistics on identity theft. A breakdown of the most important statistics to know follows:
In 2006, there were at least 246,000 cases of identity theft reported. Credit card fraud was reported as the most frequent type of theft, with 25% of all reported cases. Evenly distributed at about 16% were phone and utilities fraud, employment fraud and other such categories.
According to the statistics, electronic transfer is still the easiest way to target someone for identity theft, even though it is fairly secure. Napa, California and Madera, California were the highest ranked cities for the number of cases of identity theft.
The most abused methods of fund transfer are through credit cards (30%), wire transfers (23%) and bank account transactions (20%). The least used method of transaction and the least vulnerable for theft are cash advances and money orders.
Identity theft has a different threat online. Identity thieves will set up fake web pages, disguising them as a legitimate company’s web page. They will use it to gather email addresses of victims. This “phishing” (as it is known) is a fast spreading problem in Internet security. Most bank sites are using what is known as a Site key. A Site key is a special personalized image that appears for an account holder who has signed up for online banking. It confirms that the browser is displaying the actual correct website- not a fake one.
The most targeted demographic is consumers between the ages of 40 to 49. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s collection of statistics, almost a quarter of all cases fall within this demographic.
Be sure to keep these statistics in mind- if you are in the middle-aged demographic and use the Internet for online banking regularly- you should be cautious because this group has been shown to be the most targeted victims of identity theft.

Identity Theft – The New Cancer On Society

All across America people are fighting a battle they never imagined they would. No, they are not using artillery and tanks. Instead, they are fighting off the prey that try to steal their identity each and every day.

That's right, every place you go and use a credit card, sign a legal document, use your cell phone, or buy merchandise on line you have become a potential victim of identity theft. Every time you share personal information about yourself a skilled identity thief may have access to commit fraud against you. This is a sad but true condition of our society these days.

Over the past five or six years this problem has increased to the point that 500,000 to 700,000 people become ensnared in this type of fraud every year. Statistics show one in ten has been or will become victims of this crime spree.

How does it happen? Well, some of the most common techniques are dumpster diving: Rummaging through the trash. Skimming: This means getting a credit card number and using a device that holds and stores the number when your card is processed. Phishing: This is a fake company trying to get you to give them personal information about yourself like credit card numbers or Social Security numbers. Change of address: Your financial information is diverted to a bogus address by someone putting in a change of address card for you. Plain and simple theft: Your wallet or purse is stolen, mail is stolen to get your banking records and bill statements, personnel records are stolen and the list goes on and on.

Identity theft doesn't stop at home; Thieves prey on businesses and customer documents as well. Businesses throw out a lot of papers each day, many of which have vital information on them. The best form of defense for your business and customer privacy is to avoid throwing away any documents before being shredded. This can be done professionally at your business or securely taken away to a shredding center.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself. First, get yourself a shredder or hire a professional shredding company to shred all financial documents prior to tossing them out. Then, remember; "Do not carry your Social Security card with you and don't give out that number unless absolutely required. Be sure to use security measures on your computer and don't open mail if you don't recognize the sender. Keep passwords as unfamiliar as possible. In other words don't use birthdates and last digits of a Social Security card. Use common sense. Don't keep important paperwork in easily accessible places if you live with roommates, have employees, or are having strangers who do work around your home.

Take the steps to fight back against this crime. Check your credit scores often and report suspicious information you find. Watch your statements for unfamiliar purchases or denial of credit for some reason you don't recollect. You can also place a "Fraud Alert" on all credit accounts telling the creditors to watch for certain things before opening new accounts in your name. File police reports and report fraud and theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Check out some of the Identity Theft Protection Programs available as well.

It is important to remember the best way to defend against identity theft is to look after yourself, because no one else is. In fighting this never ending battle make sure that you are the "first line" of defense.

According to the FTC, 1 in 4 households have been affected by identity theft. In 2003 alone, more than 10 million people were victims of identity theft. That is not a misprint. The extent of the problem is epidemic. Until the lawmakers catch up with the problem, the responsibility is yours to be diligent with protecting your identity.
Here are some tips that will help to avoid having your identity stolen:
1)
.
You can get a good shredder at your local office supply store for $50 – $70, and it is well worth the price. One of the ways that thieves steal your identity is by “dumpster diving”. This is when criminals will actually go through your trash searching for usable information to steal your identity. Throwing away important personal documents such as bank statements and pre-approved credit card offers is reckless and naive.
2)
Store your important documents such as birth certificate, social security card, passport, insurance papers, bank statements, etc. in a safe place. If you live in a flood prone area, look for one that is water resistant also. This will not only help to offset identity theft in the event of a break in, but it also serves a great purpose in the event of a fire or flood.
3)
Most ATM receipts today don’t print your full account information on them, but it is something that you should be aware of as information may vary from one machine to another.
4)
If someone gets your PIN number, they can potentially have a better reason to rob you in the parking lot, or the PIN number combined with an employee of the business where you are using the card can get the full account number. If you are using your debit card at the grocery store, an employee can get the full account number, and if an accomplice were able to get the PIN number, they could have full access to your account. Before you go thinking that this is a paranoid conspiracy theory, I assure you, it has happened before.
5)
There shouldn’t be a problem with your bank doing this for you, and they will just call when they come in.
6)
Don’t keep your social security card or rarely used credit cards in your wallet. Never carry your passport unless you absolutely need it.

What Credit Card Companies and Credit Bureaus Don’t Want You to Know

The rampant identity theft and credit-related frauds have become increasingly alarming now that almost 10 million citizens have fallen victims to these crimes. Although the main idea behind identity theft is to steal information, this illegal act can be used for a number of crimes worst than anyone can imagine with regards to records that have been leaked. This situation is usually aggravated by the fact that the owners of the credit accounts are themselves being careless about using and giving away necessary information. It is about time that these crimes must be ended through an effective identity theft protection.

Identity theft protection simply refers to the preventive measures that should be initiated by the owners of credit accounts in order to avoid the occurrence of identity fraud. While some might suggest it as a comprehensive online security, it should be understood that fraud associated with credit accounts have long been around even before the cyberage; thus, this protection should cover all aspects concerning the use and safekeeping of the credit accounts. To help you put up a good defense against such crimes, here are some tips that you should consider:

1. Employ a Credit Monitoring Service - This service is often available through the three credit bureaus in charge of dispatching your annual credit reports. With a regular access to your records, you can easily detect a fraudulent activity that has been made in your account. It alerts you whenever there are modifications and other credit transactions initiated. For a more guaranteed protection, it is best to obtain a service that grants you an access to all the three major credit bureaus whenever needed.

2. Shred All of the Pertinent Files that Contain Your Credit Account Information - As much as possible, you have to keep your records secured and inaccessible to anyone. This can be done by destroying the documents indicating your credit account and ID numbers.

3. Be Wary of Groups and Companies Demanding Too Much Information - An easy target of identity thieves is the person who is naïve enough to give out personal information to just anybody. If you are being asked about some matters that suggest high confidentiality, you must restrain yourself from giving further details until you have verified the credibility of the inquiring party.

4. Think About Getting a Credit Freeze - If you suspect that there is still someone who has an access to your credit account, the best thing to do is to consider a credit freeze. This way, the issuer of your credit card will not grant any requested transactions and thereby preventing anyone from gaining access to it. Some states in the US allow free credit freezes for security purposes.

5. Never Allow the Computer to Remember Passwords - In order to make it easy for the online users, most computers simply store the passwords to different sites. If you are not the only one who uses the computer, you should always make it a point to logout every time you're away. This is to prevent anyone, even those you share your home with, from gaining access to your credit accounts. Those who are regularly making online credit transactions should become extra careful with their passwords and credit account numbers.

What credit card companies and credit bureaus don’t want you to know really does sound funny, yet it’s true that your credit card companies and the credit bureaus share some trade secrets that are actually in place to do you more harm than good. For example many credit card companies will extend you credit even if you can’t really afford it.
When you apply for credit the credit card companies only do a surface check to see if your finances measure up and to check your credit score if you fit in there box you win. A life of debt that you weren’t prepared for.
Debt that seems to grow faster than you can pay it off. Also you win some hidden fine print that states your can make the minimum monthly payment options that include taxes and possible additional charges you were not prepared for.
Next in line is the credit bureaus which were never designed to do anything more than create revenue. These bureaus are a double edged sword, first business that issue credit pay to report your payment and credit obligation repayment This is the first source of revenue.
Secondly these same bureaus who report our financial history also sell our information to other credit issuers to send us more credit offers. This is the second stream of revenue for these giant credit reporting bureaus. Most consumers never realize this and keep on going through life and wondering why this and why that.
Credit is big business and the effect of misuse of credit is dangerous. Just look around to see the negative affects on the economy. We have not seen this type of financial devastation since the great depression of 1929 according to the experts we learn from everyday.
So with this knowledge you can protect yourself by opting out of the marketing lists, using a professional service such as LifeLock to protect your identity and remove you from all of the major marketing channels, removing you from junk mail and opting out. Also LifeLock will place fraud alerts on your credit reports to prevent false issuing of credit to someone other than you.
The main reason we are on these lists is so we can be bombarded by direct marketing companies, credit lenders and other direct sales professions to trigger our impulse in buying. Where else should you get your data from some outside source or the one place that knows your deepest secrets in making purchases.
If you are exposed at your weakest level and the companies who compete are vying for your business than why would I as a marketer want to gather your intelligence from anyone else? I can see where you shop, where you have applied and received credit, where credit was denied and so on.
Take warning that in today’s modern world information is king right up there with cash. Which makes more sense today; robbing one bank or stealing identities and robbing thousands of identities for the same purpose and never leave the comfort of my own living room.

How To Fix An Identity Theft Crime

Asset protection refers to the process of protecting your valuables from lawsuits and creditor collection attempts during your life and after your death. Most businesses and individuals adopt asset protection. The purchase of a car insurance policy or a homeowner's insurance policy is a type of asset protection. A business incorporating or buying general liability insurance is also adopting a form of asset protection.

The most important and inexpensive step is to first understand how state bankruptcy and consumer protection laws protect individuals. A few further steps can effectively protect one's hard earned assets. It is interesting that this wealth preservation technique need not cost you a fortune. Proper scheduling lets you to manage your assets and keep your privacy.

Forming family limited partnerships and limited liability companies are common asset protection devices. Forming a corporation, a limited partnership, a limited liability company, and a limited liability partnership are steps that help in protecting personal assets.

One of the first things to remember is never to mix liability-generating assets. It is ideal to always use a separate entity for each liability-generating asset. Another tip is choosing a local legal representative and consulting him every time you make an important move. Well-trained lawyers have the expertise to guide you along the right path.

It is wise to avoid general partnerships because they are likely to cause trouble. These joint ventures usually produce huge liabilities for you, which are totally unforeseen and not your mistake. You are also answerable for all partnership debts and any neglectful deeds of your partners.

Another asset protection technique is adopting a secretive attitude. The process involves keeping a low profile by either hiding some of your assets or titling your assets in another's name.

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes around today and it exists because people are not careful with their personal information. When they get credit card offers in the mail, most people just carelessly toss them in the trash can, many times without even ripping them up first. This makes that person an incredibly easy target for someone who is sifting through trash at the public accessible waste site to obtain that personal information, and actually take up that lender on that credit card offer.
Of course it will get approved, because the offer is usually sent to you as a pre approved type of thing, so all you need to do is accept it. The fact that the thief has changed your address so that the new credit card can be mailed to his bogus address is almost immaterial, since people move and change their residence all the time. The lender is more looking at your credit history and will approve the new card based on that. In the meantime, the thief has a new credit card based on YOUR credit history, and goes up to charge it to the hilt, and then disappears off the face of the earth, leaving YOU to explain the situation to the lender when they call you to inquire as to when you are going to start making payments on your new credit card.
There are dozens of way to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft. Most of them are simple logic but it does not sink in until you read it, think about it, and then realize that there are some very simple steps you can take to protect yourself.
But if you find that you are a victim of identity theft, be prepared to spend a lot of personal time, effort, and yes perhaps even money to get the problem squared away, and it is not going to be a picnic. Part of the problem is that some people who have abused their credit privileges claim to be a victim of identity theft when that is really not the case, so the lender assumes that this is NOT a case of identity theft until you have submitted substantial amounts of evidence and proof, which is not always easy to come by.
The first thing you need to do is contact all the credit bureaus and notify them that you have been a victim of identity theft. A statement to that effect will be put on your credit report so that the thief will not be able to open even more accounts in your name. You should also notify the authorities. This is just a good step in the process and should be done, even though the chances of the police actually catching the thief are very small. You may also want to employ the services of a lawyer who specializes in this type of crime, who can further advise you for the right courses of action you should be taking.
As time goes on, you will also need and want to re-establish your good credit. There are many ways to do this, and you are encouraged to visit
for various tips and pieces of advice as to how to accomplish this, as well as how to win your disputes with the credit bureaus regarding the inaccurate data on your credit reports.
The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is never more true in any other situation than with the potential of being the victim of identity theft. Take time now to ensure you are adequately protecting yourself, and if you are a victim, do not delay in taking action as quickly as possible to get the matter straightened out, because it WILL take a long time.

How to Avoid Impersonation Fraud

There is a new victim of identity theft almost every three seconds. Recognizing this ought to give us justification to discuss it. We can examine a few facts why we require identity theft help to a greater extent. This age of information gives us a lot of new techniques for somebody to steal our identity, money, savings, homes, and bank accounts, that are identical to stealing our lives. Costs of recovering from a situation like this is very expensive in time and money for the victim.

The innocent target of identity theft spends between 4 to 6,000 hours of their life struggling to put everything back together all over again. Around $2,000 to $15,000 of salary is lost to an unsuspecting victim when coping with their case. In further expenses connected to their case, they might spend $900 to $1400. Separate instances of identity theft effect business costs over 40% that goes in excess of $15,000 in revenue lost.

The immense expansion of internet business and the quick internet connections has presented hackers huge new chances to target their victims without them knowing. Americans pay many millions a year due to online theft. Just termed Crime of the Times, identity theft will have an effect on ten million Americans each year. Online access and the internet is and will continue to be a big element in life. We use it for businesses and work, purchases, to perform family household business and self financial statements, and address changes with the U.S. postal service. While our lives grow to be more digital and we take part in the world of commerce, our vulnerability increases. High Tech crooks are using the same structure which supports the easy flow of commerce and information, and they dream up innumerable ways to thieve from the innocent.

Certain ways identity theft comes off isn't always online. One method is called Digital Pickpocketing. Anybody who has tangible access to your credit card is able to swipe your name and credit card info by means of a "skimmer", a tiny handheld gadget that reads electronic information stored on the magnetic strip that is on credit cards, such as a waiter/waitress, bartender, or anybody you give your card to and walks out of your sight. A different location identity thieves utilize skimmers are ATM machines. A mechanism is affixed to the ATM, in order to steal bank card PINS and information. Skimmer setup expenses are small weighed against what they might bring in. A measly $300 magnetic stripe reader and a concealed camera directed at the keypad, the reader rapidly steals your info and the concealed camera copies your pin while you type it in. The data the skimmer obtains is deposited on a laptop or memory card concealed somewhere nearby.

Thus there are challenges to recognize if we do not wish to be victimized, and lower the odds to make it more difficult to uncover your identity. Crime avoidance is concerning being aware, shredding all important documents, checking your credit report, lock up your mailbox, getting identity theft insurance since people must be cautious.

Impersonation fraud is also known as identity fraud and occurs when a criminal steals enough personal information about their victims so that they can impersonate them for a range of purposes such as:
o To access their victims existing financial accounts in order to steal cash and run up charges on plastic cards.
o To open up new credit accounts in the victims name such as credit cards, loans, hire service agreements and cell phone contracts.
o If the thief manages to steal enough of their victims key personal identity such as a passport or drivers license they could even use this on order to leave the country undetected, or to falsify their identity when arrested for crimes and violations. This would mean that any charges would be made in the victim’s name, and they would be liable for them until they are able to prove that identity theft has occurred and clean their records.
There are ways in which you can protect your personal information and reduce the risks of thieves getting hold of what they need to carry out fraudulent crimes and one of the most effective is to sign up to one of the identity theft protection services currently available such as ID Patrol, LifeLock, TrustedID or Identity Guard. These services offer a wide range of measures that can protect your personal information against identity thieves such as consumer credit report monitoring and fraud flags, and also provide support and financial cover to help you if you do become a victim. There are many other steps you can take to protect your identity as well, such as keeping your personal information private and not sharing it with anyone unless absolutely necessary, and taking care to log in safely on a secure computer (with up to date anti-malware software) if you are using online email, business or banking accounts.