My mom and I recently went to a safety class in a local town (Huntersville) and it was about Identity theft, which is so scary because it is happens more often than we think. We learned so much valuable information, so I wanted to share it with you. First off, a lot of it happens on the computer. It can happen in a number of ways: using their own hackers, hiring college students or even buying information online. Did you know that hacking accounted for the largest number of compromised personal records last year?
10 warning signs of Identity Theft
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- Bills or collection notices for products or services were never received.
- Mistakes on your bank, credit card, or other accounts
- Calls from debt collectors about debts that do not belong to you.
- Mail, email or calls about jobs in your minor child’s name.
- A notice from the IRS that someone used your social security number
- Mistakes on the explanation of benefits from your health plan.
- Businesses turn down your checks.
- You are unexpectedly turned down for a loan or job.
- Your regular bills and statements are not arriving on time.
- You begin receiving bills for services & products that do not belong to you.
How computer hacking happens:
- Attacking computers that do not have firewalls.
- Hiding malicious code in email attachments.
- Finding browsers that haven’t been properly set up.
- Finding weak passwords.
- Hiding malicious coding in free software.
- Hiding malicious coding in downloads.
- Hiding malicious coding in images on web pages.
- Using public computers and waiting for a victim to use it.
- Breaking into wireless home networks that were not securely installed.
How to prevent Identity Theft:
- Use a product like Norton Security Deluxe. (they even have a 60-day free trial)
- Read your credit reports. You have a right to a free report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. You can order one every four months if you order from the different companies.
- If you use a public wireless network, don’t send information to any website that isn’t fully encrypted.
- If you shop or bank online, use websites that protect your financial information. It should say “https” at the beginning of the website. The “s” stands for secure.
- If you lose your device (computer, ipad, etc…), but have Norton Security Deluxe, it will protect your passwords.
Benefits of using Norton Security Deluxe:
- Protect your devices against viruses, spyware, malware and online threats
- Safeguard your identity and online transactions
- Use the security protection that’s proven to be better and faster than the competition
- Blocks infected and dangerous downloads.
- Keeps you safe when you surf, shop and bank online
- Cleans up your hard drive to free up space
- Try it first with their 60-day free trial.
What to do if it has already happened:
- Order your credit reports. Each company’s report about you is slightly different, so be sure to order one from each company. Read them carefully and look for any mistakes.
- Create an identity theft report. It can help you remove fraudulent information from your credit report & get information out there about the fact that someone has stolen your information. (call 1-877-438-4338)
- Go to your local police for help.
- Flag your credit reports. Call one of the credit reporting companies & ask for a fraud alert on your credit report. They will contact the other companies, as well.
Here is more info…