How To Keep Your Personal Information Secure
Protecting your personal information can help reduce your risk of identity theft. There are four main ways to do it: know who you share information with; store and dispose of your personal information securely, especially your Social Security number; ask questions before deciding to share your personal information; and maintain appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
By David Lazarus
As the Black Friday shopping spree spilled over into Cyber Monday, the FBI warned consumers to watch out for “increasingly aggressive and creative scams” that will make your holidays considerably less merry and bright.
That’s not exactly a news flash, of course. If there’s money being spent, it’s a sure thing that scammers will be hunting for a piece of the action.
Summer will be here before you know it, and with it come new and old scams. As you consider possible escapes — travel to exotic places; trips to the beach, the mountains or the golf course; a staycation to get much needed work done around your house — bear in mind that these diversions provide the perfect opportunity for con artists and identity thieves just waiting to insinuate themselves into your life, becoming the sand in your picnic basket (or bathing suit) — a vacation-killing burn that no ointment can soothe.
Here are few scams to be on the lookout for this summer.
The following information was provided to me in an email alert from TransUnion.
Staying informed is very important when it comes to preventing further damage to your credit. Sometimes the company, such as AT&T, will take additional steps to solved the security breach, while other times by the time you are informed, it is too late and you must take steps on your own to protect yourself.
Whether or not you've been affected by this incident, you could be next – play it safe & protect yourself now with TransUnion.
AT&T Mobility has recently confirmed that it has suffered a data breach. The personal information (Social Security numbers and call records) of an undisclosed number of AT&T Mobility customers was stolen. The breach was alleged to have occurred earlier this year, April 9 through 21. The criminals appear to have been interested in information they could use to unlock phones they had already stolen. Since Social Security numbers were also involved, users are strongly encouraged to take steps to protect their identity.
TransUnion recommends taking the following precautions immediately, for protection & peace of mind:
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A Credit Freeze is a viable option to help protect yourself from identity theft. A Credit Freeze sometimes called a Security Freeze does give you maximum control over your credit by preventing lender and other from accessing your credit report.
However, there are few things to consider before placing the Credit Freeze such as:
1) Are you planning on making any large purchases in the near future in which you would need to access you credit report? Not only does this freeze prevent others from accessing your credit, but it can make it cumbersome for you to access it as well. It can be done, however be ready to have to jump through some additional verification and financial hoops.
2) A credit freeze is permanent until you notify the three major credit reporting companies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Even though, it is rather simple to put the Freeze into place. It can and should be done with each of the credit reporting companies for it to be effective as quickly as possible. It can be done by phone, or by mail or online by answering some vital financial questions. However, to lift or remove the Credit Freeze you must notify all three credit reporting companies by telephone automated system or in writing and then allow typically 3 days for processing.
3) There are fees associated with placing, lift or removing a Credit Freeze. For most states it is $10.00 to place a Freeze, lift a Freeze or remove it completely. Florida fees are: No fees for identity theft victims and seniors 65 years and older. All others pay $10 to place the Freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
So, be sure to plan ahead. If you are concerned with identity theft and you know that in the near future you will need to make a large purchase in which you will need to access you credit, consider a credit monitoring service like LifeLock. There are many options to choose from and most of the options allow for month to month contracts. SO once you have made your large purchase, you can cancel the credit monitoring service and you can place a freeze on your credit.
The only person who should be benefiting from your good credit is you. Therefore, when your identity is stolen or your credit is being accessed and used by someone else you need to become aware of it as soon as possible to stop it and prevent additional purchases and further damage to your overall credit picture. One efficient way to do this is to use a credit monitoring service. I just signed up one of my clients to further monitor his credit and to provide an additional layer of protection. I chose LifeLock. However, there are many credit monitoring services available. Be sure to investigate the specific services offered and choose the one that best fits your needs. Check out the 2014 Comparison of Identity Theft Protection Services. This website compares several companies and the services they offer:
Page Maintained by: Jennifer Shulman
Jennifer is committed to helping her clients as well as other folks improve their daily financial circumstances by providing simple financial solutions.