The Honest to Goodness Truth on Identity Theft

If you have even an inkling that you’ve fallen victim to identity theft, the most important thing to do is to limit the potential damage. If your identity is like your home, an identity theft protection service can alert you once a criminal has gotten in, and it can limit the damage, but it can’t always protect your information or your money from being stolen. Unless you’re a computer expert, you probably don’t know how to do your own dark web monitoring, but most other services offered by identity theft protection companies are things you can do yourself for free, like checking your credit report, scanning your financial accounts for fraudulent activity, freezing your kids’ social security numbers, and doing the legwork if your identity gets stolen. Send a letter to the credit bureau to fix mistakes on your credit report. With credit report monitoring, you will be able to adjust to things and to even keep better track of your credit. TransUnion® will then notify the other two credit bureaus on your behalf. Identity theft is a serious crime that occurs when someone uses your name, social security number, credit card number or other identifying information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.

There are numerous ways in which identity theft can occur – money missing from your checking account, fraudulent or suspicious charges on a credit card or a new account opening in your name, to name a few. Affected individuals can obtain additional information about the steps they can take to avoid identity theft from the following agencies. ID Experts will provide all impacted individuals and their dependent minor children (under the age of 18 as of July 1, 2015) with credit monitoring, identity monitoring, identity theft insurance, and identity restoration services for a period of three years. These services will be provided at no cost to the victims whose sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, were compromised in the cyber incident involving background investigations. Pretty much all the identity theft services out there have insurance policies up to $1 million to help you with the financial costs of recovery, so don’t let that impressive number sway you to choose one over the other. You may place a fraud alert on your credit file to let creditors know to contact you before opening a new account in your name.

Keep an eye on the reports that are related to your credit standing. While you cannot completely prevent ID theft from occurring, there are ways to protect yourself. ID Theft Central is designed to launch a process of learning about identity theft. The most important thing to remember when it comes to identity theft protection is that it’s more like a security system than a bodyguard. Department of Defense (DoD) today announced the award of a $133,263,550 contract to Identity Theft Guard Solutions LLC, doing business as ID Experts, for identity theft protection services for 21.5 million individuals whose personal information was stolen in one of the largest cybercrimes ever carried out against the United States Government. Safeguard yourself against this crime today. Founded in 1999, the synthetic identity theft company Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a non-profit organization established to empower and guide consumers, victims, business and government to minimize risk and mitigate the impact of identity compromise and crime. For anyone that has been a victim of a data breach, the ITRC recommends downloading its free ID Theft Help app to manage the various aspects of an individual’s data breach case. The ITRC also equips consumers and businesses with information about recent data breaches through its data breach tracking tool, notified.

For Internet transactions, be sure the Web site offers secure data encryption and other services to protect your personal information. Treat your Social Security number, your driver’s license number and other personal data as you would cash – don’t leave it lying around. This task order was awarded under GSA’s Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA) for Identity Monitoring, Data Breach Response and Protection Services which GSA awarded today. To learn more about the latest data breaches, visit the ITRC’s interactive data breach tracking tool, notified. For security breach situations involving your Social Security Number (SSN) – in other words, breaches in which there is an opportunity for new accounts to be opened in your name you should consider taking the following actions: Notify the credit reporting agencies and establish a fraud alert. Order a Free Credit Report Every Four Months: All consumers are entitled to a free copy of their Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion credit reports once every 12 months.