Identity theft or identity fraud is a criminal event that occurs when one person takes personal information belonging to somebody else and uses it without authority for abuse or gain.
There are a multitude of ways criminals can obtain your most sensitive information and falsify or create counterfeit documents or credit/bank accounts in your name. Your sensitive personal information is readily accessible and may easily be mistreated by unscrupulous criminals. You and your family members' social security numbers, driver's licenses, credit card information, birth certificates and financial account numbers can be obtained in a variety of ways. The most common include; a lost wallet, "dumpster diving", postal mail, your employer's records, your hospital records, or your Internet account, to list only a few methods. Criminals' ability to obtain sensitive information about someone has become much easier with the advent of the Internet, and identity thieves employ a wide array of fraudulent schemes that can seriously impact an identity fraud victim's financial, tax, employment, and medical records. Some very creative thieves can even have a criminal record established for you in lieu of their real identity. The risks are real, and you need to protect yourself and your family from them.
If a criminal has stolen or breached personally identifiable information, they can have the ability to obtain false drivers licenses, birth certificates, passports, medical ID cards, etc. In short, they are assuming your identity, and using it for their own gain. According to a recent study, approximately 12% of victims have a personal relationship with the person trying to use their identity or records for their own personal gain. This finding underscores the difficulty of preventing identity fraud and why having comprehensive benefits is a must.
Simply obtaining a credit card number or the card itself can allow criminals to make unauthorized charges to your account. Numbers are found on receipts or on your monthly statements that come through the mail or in electronic statements on your computer. Cards are either stolen from the victim, recovered from lost wallets or obtained from new cards arriving in the mail. This is why you need to protect yourself on many fronts to this type of fraud. Fraudulent credit card transactions can occur at a merchant's brick and mortar location, over the telephone or on the Internet where you do not need to be present to purchase goods.
Large and small companies have data about their customers that is breached almost every day. This means that if your information is in the company's database your identity could be breached. Prior to buying goods over the internet, make sure to check their Privacy and Security Policies and ensure that they are securely storing your sensitive details. Your home computer can also be a source of data for identity thieves to steal. You can help to prevent access by turning off your computer when not in use, installing a personal firewall, or avoiding storing your important information on those computers.
Criminals have used this method even before the Internet. It is as the name implies, someone (not you) is going through your trash and using whatever sensitive information they find to steal your identity. Shred all important documents or mail that you have prior to disposing it. "Pre-Approved" credit card offers which arrive in the mail frequently and without warning should always be shredded before placing in the trash.
Whenever you hand your credit card to a wait person or to a store clerk you are taking the risk that they will steal your identity! Skimming involves copying the magnetic stripe from a genuine payment card and transferring your personal account information to a substitute counterfeit card. The counterfeit card is then used by the criminal to make transactions in your name.
In this scheme, criminals attempt to extract information from you when you divulge information to a person over the phone who claims to be a representative of a legitimate company. This practice is also known as "pretexting". Pretexting is the illegal practice of getting your personal information under false pretenses. When you give personal information over the phone, you may accidentally be giving important details such as SSN or Bank info to a criminal. Criminals then use this information to obtain more information about you or may already have sufficient details on you to commit an identity crime.
This is a practice whereby you receive what appears to be a legitimate email from a trusted brand name or company you deal with frequently. The email is actually coming from a cyber criminal with the intent of duping you into providing sensitive details about you or your family. The emails may look legitimate, the websites they send you to may be exact copies of the sites you are familiar with and the phone numbers listed will be going to bogus phone centers. These are really just a false front for a criminal looking to extract information from you. In most cases, businesses do not ask for sensitive information via email. In addition, never open up attachments from these types of emails as just the act of opening the attachment will infect your computer.
No company or service can 100% guarantee that you or your family members will never be a victim of identity theft. Increasing the level of education you have about it, as well as employing a solid defense strategy can reduce your chances of becoming an identity theft victim. Every aspect of the protection services you receive from being an IdentityIntact™ member includes our Core Identity Protection. This provides you primarily with 24/7 Unlimited Victim Resolution Services and identity insurance. No matter what type of identity fraud breach may happen, simple or complex, you'll have an Always On resource to help fight fraud and regain your identity. Get started immediately, Enroll today.
*Please note: Residents of New York are subject to a $25,000 limit of coverage. View NY Summary here. Insurance is underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of Chartis Inc. The descriptions provided herein are summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. View our insurance Summary here. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions and is subject to actual policy language.
IMPORTANT ACCOUNT INFORMATION: * Seconds after verification of your identity through our signup process, your score and report are available for secure online delivery. For those selecting IdentityIntact™ Platinum subscription, you will be billed $15.95 for a minimum of 3 months and then $15.95 each month that you continue your membership beginning the fourth month, or if you selected the annual Platinum level membership, you will be billed the annual fee of $159.95 immediately. For those selecting the IdentityIntact™ Titanium subscription, you will be billed $25.00 for a minimum of 3 months and then $25.00 every month that your membership continues beginning the fourth month. If you selected the annual Titanium membership, you will be billed the annual fee of $259.95 immediately. If at any time during your membership you want to cancel the service, you can do this at any time to discontinue the subscription but no refunds will be issued once the annual membership is billed. If the monthly fee option was selected, and you choose to cancel within the first 3 months, you will be ineligible for a refund of the first three months subscription fees. To submit a cancellation, you must call 1-855-722-6737. General office hours are Monday through Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm Pacific Standard Time. Victim Assistance is available 24/7. Any other form of a cancellation request will not be honored. Pursuant to the FACT Act, , you have the right to receive a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three main nationwide consumer reporting companies at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.