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Best Identity Theft Protection Mechanisms to Help You Stay Secured

Bhavya Verma Jun 30, 2019
Identity theft has become a major concern these days with the number of victims being around ten million in USA alone. Let us know about some of the best protection programs for identity theft.
Identity theft, also called identity fraud or impersonation, is a fraud where a person pretends to be someone else to gain benefits.
The impostor uses personal information like social security number, credit card information, etc., for various purposes like gaining a new telephone connection or renting an apartment or even taking credits and loans.
This generally goes undetected until the credit report review is done or a debt collector pays a visit. Let's know more about identity theft and the protection services.

About Identity Theft

Identity theft can be divided into five major categories:

★ Business or Commercial Identity Theft: This identity theft is done to obtain credit using others' business name.
★ Criminal Identity Theft: Here, a person poses as someone else when taken into custody for any crime.

★ Financial Identity Theft: This is done to obtain goods and services using others' identity.

Medical Identity Theft: Identity theft done to obtain health care or medicines.

Identity Cloning: Assuming someone's identity in daily life.
These identity thefts are carried out by various ways like, stealing mail, dumpster diving, disposed mobile phones or computers, eavesdropping, pickpocketing, data breech, fake job offers, phishing, Trojan horses, computer hacking or through social networking sites.

Protection from Identity Theft

Identity theft protection is an insurance that covers costs associated with identity theft. This insurance is generally offered by banks or credit card companies. For choosing the best protection service, few things must be kept in mind.
The reputation of a company can be checked by their history and the level of customer satisfaction that they provide. Also, the experience of the staff that works in the company can be helpful.
The security can cover many aspects that a company should provide like fraud monitoring features and fraud alerts, credit freeze and pin or voice verification.
The company should help with the legal matters like filing reports, disputing the unauthorized transactions and recovering the information stolen from the customer.

The company should provide better guidance and prompt, helpful responses in case the fraud takes place.
There are some best identity theft protection companies in the US that provide various theft protection features that are helpful in protecting one's identity to a great extent.
Another way to stop identity theft is to freeze credit account. Thus even you can't withdraw money. When you need to borrow, you can unfreeze your account, and then re-freez it. There is a fee to pay every time you freeze and unfreeze your account. The fee depends on the state you live and will be for all three credit bureaus- Experian, TransUnion, Equifax.
But as they say, prevention is better than cure. Most identity thefts take place due to negligence on the part of the individual. If one takes some small but thoughtful measures in daily life, many problems can be avoided. Let us see what the steps for preventing identity theft are.

Identity Theft Prevention

★ Shred and destroy the documents that contain private financial information like credit card statements, etc.

★ Keep any of your personal information like date of birth or credit card number safe and do not tell it to anyone.
★ Protect your social security number and don't put it on checks. Be careful when carrying the cards having personal information.

★ Never leave behind receipts of credit cards or ATM receipts that can give information to others.
★ Secure your mailbox and keep it locked. Avoid mailing outgoing bill payments from home; use post office or other secure locations.

★ While making credit card payments, ensure the card never goes out of your sight. If that is not possible, opt for cash payments.
★ Register yourself in the national 'Do-Not-Call' registry. This will make sure that your number is removed from the tele-marketers list. Also, cut down on the junk mail and credit card solicitations.
★ Do not give your personal information on phone without verifying the identity of the caller, reason for their call and which company they represent. If you are not sure, call back the company to affirm.

★ Make a note to verify the privacy policy of your credit card company, insurance company, etc with whom you share confidential information.
★ Monitor your credit report at least once a year. By doing this you can find out if there is any discrepancy. In that case you can alert your card company or creditor immediately to save further damages.

★ Review the statements of your credit cards and close all the accounts that you do not use or need.
In case the fraud has occurred, contact the fraud departments of each of the three credit bureaus, i.e., Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Request for the creditors to call and confirm with you before making changes in your account or opening a new one. Contact the creditor of the fallacious account and follow up with a letter.
File a report in the local police station and keep a copy of that report with you. Also, keep a record of every correspondence and phone calls that you have made in the process of fraud detection till your credit history is clean. By keeping these tips to avoid identity theft in mind, you can ensure the best protection and prevention of your identity.