It’s time for a hard, real truth. There’s so much information that can be found about you online. For many readers, the reality of this situation will be shocking! We all know how important our Social Security number is, and how important it is that it doesn’t get into the wrong hands. We’ve been taught to keep it from prying eyes, but this valuable piece of information about you, along with your bank account number, information from social media profiles, and even credit card details, can be found online.
Just because a website, online shopping, or social media platform appears to be safe, this is not truly the case. No platform’s servers are safe from data breaches, which means that all those kinds of information that we’ve mentioned above are not safe from hackers and fraudsters. To people like them, this information is highly valuable and can be sold on the dark web for a pretty penny. Even big data corporations, those that are widely regarded as “legit” sell your data online and make billions from it.
What is Identity Theft?
So, with all this information of yours online, what’s the threat? One of the most significant threats facing internet users today is the issue of identity theft, or identity fraud. In fact, this phenomenon is becoming an increasingly serious threat as more of us are online and uploading our personal, sensitive details to various internet platforms in some form or another.
Identity theft can be defined as crimes against an individual where your personal and financial data is obtained illegally through fraudulent or deceptive means. For the most part, the goal of this crime is financial gain.
Since financial gain is the goal in most identity theft cases, this has implications for how you manage your finances and use your credit cards online (or otherwise). Fraudsters commonly apply for credit cards or loans, or withdraw money from your accounts by using your name. Other forms of finance-related identity theft occur when these thieves use your medical/health insurance scheme, pretending to be you. When it comes to your Social Security number, your tax refund can be stolen by those who have obtained that information about you. One of the first kinds of identity theft that we’ve mentioned – credit card fraud – is arguably the most common, although selling your personal data (including usernames and passwords to your various accounts) obtained through hacking activity, is big business today, too.
Have I Been a Victim of Identity Theft?
If you’ve been the victim of identity theft, the signs will be apparent to you. Sometimes it may be shocking, since you’re generally very careful when it comes to keeping your sensitive personal information private and secure. Check your credit card bills and look out for any transactions that have been that you don’t remember making yourself – or having given anyone else permission to make. Also, a big red flag is when you begin to receive bills on credit cards that you don’t actually own or have never applied for. If your household bills are not reaching you anymore, this is something that you should look into, since a sign of identity theft is that your billing address has been changed without your knowledge. Sometimes, however, you might not even know that you’ve been the victim of identity fraud until it’s too late.
What Services Can I Use to Protect Myself?
The best identity theft services out there in 2020 use both technology and professionals to regular check databases and websites to detect suspicious activity. These services send you a mobile alert, text, or email in the case of fraudulent activity. Additionally, a valuable feature of most of these services is that they will offer recovery assistance to secure your information from further harm.
Norton Security has been known to provide antivirus protection over the years, but they’re also one of the biggest identity theft services today. LifeLock monitors your Social Security Number, along with your bank accounts and devices. Their identity theft technology also scans your financial transactions every second – they claim – to instantly notice if any suspicious activity has occurred. Additionally, they have a Million Dollar Protection Package which covers you for up to $1 million in stolen funds, as well attorney fees. However, not all transactions are monitored and there are no educational tools or support offered. Norton LifeLock’s monthly cost is $34.99, featuring a mobile app and family plan.
IDShield, from LegalShield, also offers privacy and security monitoring, as well as consultation and restoration services. As opposed to most other identity theft protection services, IDShield has a team of full-time, licensed, private investigators. As a subscriber, you’re able to contact these investigators via a mobile app. IDShield also features social media monitoring that detects fraud, as well as suspicious or unacceptable posts. They offer a family plan at a monthly cost of $17.95.
To make a more informed decision between these two players in the identity theft protection market, read the ID Shield vs LifeLock review.
At a monthly cost of $17.99, offering a family plan and mobile app, IdentityForce’s comprehensive plan, “UltraSecure+Credit”, offers a full suite of services. This includes protection against cyberfraud, medical identification fraud, as well as two-factor authentication fraud. Another useful feature offered is a junk mail opt-out, which is less common among identity theft protection services. Just like IDShield, they also feature social media identity monitoring in their basic plan.
It’s also useful to develop safe, cautious habits while online. And, let’s be honest, we’re online almost all day, every day, these days. Identity theft protection services are really useful now, more than ever, as our lives are, almost literally, on the line in the digital world. Check out people finder websites to see exactly what information about you is readily available for the public to obtain with just a quick search. This will give you an idea of just how necessary a good, solid identity theft protection service is. Using OneRep will help you to automatically get your private information removed from the web. So, check out what’s out there, remove as much as you think is necessary, then make your choice on which identity theft protection service suits you best in order to move forward.