Product Review: Are identity theft services worth it?
Yes, identity theft services can be well worth the investment. Imagine that your Social Security number is scraped off of a government website that has legally published it online. Or it’s stolen out of your tax preparer’s office, scavenged from your trash or skimmed from your iPad as you surf on a free WiFi connection. In most cases, you have no idea that your digital identity has fallen into unethical hands, usually those of organized crime, who replicate and resell it in seconds.
Identity theft prevention is not a one-time solution. You must accumulate layers of privacy and security over time. The following identity theft prevention tips are among those I cover in one of my speeches, Think Like A Spy Crash Course and expand into protecting organizational or corporate data.
Trust Your Instincts. Most of prevention is common sense.
When someone asks you to share private information, think – Hogwash! Learn more about establishing a Fraud Reflex.
Ask aggressive questions to spot a ConJOB: Control, Justify, Options & Benefits. Learn more about exposing a ConJOB.
Target (or prioritize) your responses & options to protect the most valuable items first.
Every dollar counts, now more than ever, as the government searches for ways to wisely spend our money. It’s dismaying to learn that an audit report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has found that the impact of identity theft on tax administration is significantly greater than the amount the IRS detects and prevents. Even worse, the “IRS uses little of the data from identity theft cases…to detect and prevent future tax refund fraud” according to Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.
The IRS is detecting far fewer fake tax returns than are actually falsely filed. 938,700 were detected in 2011. On the other hand, TIGTA identified 1.5M additional undetected tax returns in 2011 with potentially fraudulent tax refunds totaling in excess of $5.2B.
The study predicted that the IRS stands to lose $21B in revenue over the next 5 years with new fraud controls, or $26B without the new controls.
Have you experienced that clutch of fear that makes your heart skip a beat when you all of a sudden discover your wallet is missing? Your first reaction might be a cuss word for carrying all that critical information in the first place. Your second is to try to slow your mind as it frantically scans for solutions. Knowing what to do if you lose vital information and knowing your rights if you become a victim of identity theft will save you time, money and a ton of stress.
A consumer survey conducted by the Federal Trade Commission reveals, in a new report, that many identity theft victims do not understand their rights. Following is a summary of what you should know if you become the unfortunate victim of identity theft.
Freezing your credit is the number one way to protect against financial identity theft. If everyone in the country applied for a Credit Freeze, identity thieves would quickly be out of business. At least, a major part of their business. Take 30 minutes and lower your chances of identity theft drastically (see the online Freeze links at the bottom of this post).
To go directly to placing a security freeze on your 3 bureau accounts, page down to the bottom section.
Every time you establish new credit (e.g., open up a new credit card, store account or bank account, finance a car or home loan, etc.), an entry is created in your credit file which is maintained by companies like Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (listed below). The trouble is, with your name, address and social security number, an identity thief can pretend to be you and can establish credit (i.e., spend your net worth) in your name.