Your Comprehensive Guide To Protecting Your Identity

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Jane bought a gift for her friend online. A week later that website was hacked, and her personal data was stolen. Random charges started appearing on her credit cards, and her bank account dwindled down to nothing. She was struggling to pay her bills, and it wasn’t her fault. She didn’t know what to do, how to get her money back or how to make it stop.

Too many people find themselves in a situation like this. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), ID theft was the number two consumer complaint in recent years. In fact, every 2 seconds someone’s identity is stolen, and that number continues to rise.

The Best Ways To Avoid Identity Theft

How Can I Know If Someone Stole My Identity?

Experts agree that there are some significant signs to look for to know if someone stole your identity. If you notice any of these signs or anything else that seems questionable, don’t brush it off. It’s the age old saying, better to be safe than sorry.

How to Know if Someone Stole Your Identity

  • Charges appear on your credit or debit card statements for items you didn’t purchase. Even small charges could be a red flag.
  • You receive an unknown credit card statement or a new card in the mail that you didn’t apply for.
  • Your bank account funds are dwindling without your knowledge of withdrawals.
  • You’re not receiving your bills or other mail.
  • When you write checks, merchants deny them.
  • You’re getting collection notices or calls for debt that you haven’t incurred.
  • There are errors on your credit report.
  • Your credit history has always been good, but you’re denied a loan or credit card when you apply.
  • You’re receiving medical bills for unknown services.
  • Your medical claim is denied by your health plan, even though you haven’t surpassed your benefits limit.
  • You get a notification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that an additional tax return was filed in your name.
  • The IRS notifies you that you have income from an employer you’ve never worked for.

What Should I Do If I Think My Identity Is Compromised?

If you think you’ve had your identity stolen, act immediately with these six steps.

Person reporting ID theft on cell phone: How to Report Identity Theft

1. Notify The Government (FTC)

First and foremost notify the U.S. Federal Trade Commission at IdentityTheft.gov.

Next, go online to the FTC’s Complaint Assistant to obtain an Identity Theft Affidavit. It asks a series of questions about the type of theft, what was misused and other details about the fraudulent incident(s).

Once you’ve finished, print out a copy of the FTC Fraud Affidavit and make copies of it in case any financial institutions and companies you’re working with want a copy. Some companies may require a notarized copy, so you might want to go ahead and get all your copies notarized up front.

You can also reach the FTC by phone at 1-877-438-4338 and describe your situation in detail, so they have the information they need to help.

2. Review Your Financial Activity

Go online and look at all your bank, credit card and other financial statements for unauthorized charges. You can also review paper statements or call the bank directly. A bank associate can walk you through any recent transactions or ones that look suspicious.

If you see anything that was not authorized contact the financial institutions where you’re encountering problems and ask them to lock down or close the accounts immediately.

3. Monitor Your Credit

Request copies of your credit report from all 3 major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and look for any suspicious activity. You’re legally entitled to an annual free credit report from each agency.

Sign up for a credit monitoring service to help you screen for ongoing or future issues that might arise. Learn more by reading our Best Credit Monitoring Service overview.

Place a fraud alert on your credit reports (typically lasts 90 days). A fraud alert notifies any organization that pulls your credit report that your identity may be compromised. This alert warns creditors to take an extra step of contacting you directly when they’re verifying the identity of the person opening the account.

4. File A Police Report

Person calling police on phoneAlthough most fall victim of ID thieves who aren’t local, filing a local police report creates a paper trail that may help you in the long run. The more paper trail you have covering your ID theft incident, the better. Police may choose to speak with you in person or direct you to a website to fill out a form.

Items Needed To Report Identity Theft To The Police

The FTC recommends that you report ID theft to your local police in person. What should you take with you to the police station?

  • A copy of your FTC Identity Theft Complaint
  • A government-issued photo ID
  • Proof of residency (recent mortgage statement, rental agreement, or a utility bill)
  • Copies of all your fraud evidence (IRS notices, collections letters, credit card statements with fraudulent transactions, credit reports showing unauthorized accounts, etc.)

After a police report is filed, get a copy for your personal records to assist you in your recovery efforts. Don’t expect much activity from the police. Depending on your local police department’s process, your case will go to a detective who will review all of the information. Then, he or she will determine whether to take any action.

Note that some police departments will refuse to file a report for a non-local perpetrator. Why? Because of jurisdictions. Police deal with crimes that occur in the area they work in and if the identity theft didn’t take place in that area, they can choose not to help.

Unfortunately, most people don’t know who stole their identity, so they are unable to press charges. For example, if the fraud was perpetrated by an anonymous hacker online, there may not be much the police can do to track down the offender.

However, if you suspect a certain individual (family member, neighbor or friend, perhaps) of using your credit card illegally, the police may be able to build a case and help you press charges against the person. If you’re interested in pressing charges against a known identity thief, talk to your local police department about steps to take.

5. Was Your Social Security Number Stolen?

Social security card in walletIf your SSN (Social Security Number) was compromised, you’ll need to get a new number and replacement card. Before you do that, report your lost Social Security card to the IRS by calling 1-800-908-4490.

Next, fill out this form to apply for a replacement card or change information on your SSN record. You can then mail or deliver the form in person to any Social Security office.

It also wouldn’t hurt to report the fact that your social security number was stolen to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which will distribute the report to relevant authorities. This would be an additional step on top of filing the police report on your own.

Important Info When Applying For Your First SSN Card

You can also use the SSN form link above to apply for your first SSN card. If the applicant is older than 12-years-old and applying for an original SSN, an in-person interview is required. If you are the parent of a newborn, you can get an SSN for your child through the “Enumeration at Birth” (EAB) process. If you are an United States immigrant, you can file for an SSN through Enumeration at Entry (EaE). Anyone older than 18-years of age is eligible to apply.

6. Consider Signing Up For An ID Theft Protection Service

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ID Shield logo
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IdentityForce logo
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Identity Guard logo
Compare All Products

We’ve reviewed the top ID theft protection providers with pros, cons, pricing, and more. Our review is kept up-to-date on at least an annual basis.

Should I Put A Freeze On My Credit?

Calculator with bills: How to Freeze Your CreditA credit freeze, also referred to as a “security freeze”, is a method you can use to restrict the access others have to your credit report. When you establish a credit security freeze, identity thieves have a much more difficult time opening accounts in your name.

Why? Most creditors must review your credit report to approve new loans, credit cards and other financial accounts. However, with a credit freeze in place, creditors don’t have access to your credit report.

Freezing your credit is now free (as of September 2018) and doesn’t affect your credit score. A credit freeze only applies to your credit reports — it’s not the same as a credit card freeze, and you still have access to all of your existing accounts and credit cards.

There are a few factors you should consider before freezing your credit. There are no absolutes; it really comes down to a personal decision.

  • Have you already been a victim of identity theft? If so, you’re at a higher risk. Thieves sometimes sell or trade your personal information once they gain access, so your information could still be out there. A credit freeze is free in most states in the case of identity theft.
  • What are your upcoming credit plans? If you’re planning in the near future to purchase a house or car, or open up a new credit card account, you may want to wait to freeze your credit report. Otherwise, you’ll have to temporarily lift the freeze with each credit bureau, and you could incur fees to do so. A credit freeze can also affect your ability to open up new service accounts, including a new utilities or mobile phone contracts.
  • Have you considered credit monitoring or identity theft protection as an alternative? If you’re concerned about not being able to access your credit reports if they’re frozen, for an emergency loan, for example, you should look into a Credit Monitoring Service or an Identity Theft Protection service. These services regularly track your credit reports and other financial accounts and immediately alert you of any unusual activity or potential identity threats.

How Do I Freeze My Credit Reports?

Freezing your credit is free and a relatively easy process. There are three national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and each provides its own credit report. Different creditors access some or all bureaus, so it’s important to freeze your credit with all three companies. To freeze your credit, all you need to do is call each bureau.

Each company will ask you to provide your name, date of birth, social security number, address and additional personal information to verify your identity. If you request via phone, they must put a freeze on your credit report within one business day (if you make a mail request to freeze or lift your credit, they must do within three business days, so it’s faster to call). You can also request for children under 16, and if you’re someone’s guardian, conservator or have a power of attorney.

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will each send you a confirmation of your freeze, including a PIN (personal identification number) or password. It’s important to keep each PIN or password in a secure place because you’ll need it when you want to unfreeze your credit reports.

How Do I Unfreeze A Credit Report?

Your credit freeze will automatically end after one year (before September 2018 it was 90 days). If you have been an ID theft victim, you can have an extended alert period of up to 7 years. To manually lift a freeze on your credit report, you must contact each credit bureau again. You can lift the freeze altogether, put a temporary lift in place or request that a certain vendor is granted access for a specific transaction.

If you request via phone, credit bureaus are required to lift a freeze within one hour (or three business days if you contact them via mail).

Tip: If you only need to temporarily lift your credit freeze because you’re applying for a loan or new credit card, try to find out which credit bureau the creditor uses. This may help you avoid the trouble and added expense of unfreezing all three credit bureaus’ reports since you only need to lift the freeze on the one your creditor is contacting.

How Can I Protect Myself From Identity Theft?

Knowing how to prevent identity theft is critical with so much of our personal information online that may be more readily available to compromise. Many of the steps you’ll need to take to protect your identity are free, but you may also want to consider signing up for a professional ID protection and monitoring service to give you that extra peace of mind.

  • Use Caution – Be discrete and selective when sharing your personal information. Don’t give out any of your personal details over the phone.
  • Be Aware Of Scams – If someone is offering you a limited offer that you must take advantage of now and wants all of your personal data you should probably say “no thanks”.
  • Check Financial Accounts – Review your banking, investment, retirement, and credit card accounts regularly to see if there have been any unauthorized transactions. If you see any, notify the banks to close your accounts and cards immediately.
  • Review Health Insurance Statements – If you notice any unexpected treatments or charges from medical providers, immediately contact your health insurance company and provider, especially if you see treatments listed that you never received.
  • Monitor Credit Reports Ask for a credit report periodically from each of the three bureaus to check if there are any accounts in your name that you didn’t open. If you notice suspicious activity, consider adding a fraud alert or freezing the reports.
  • Use A VPN – Coffee shops and other public areas are magnets for spying eyes that wish to steal valuable data via unsecured WiFi networks. VPNs (or Virtual Private Networks) create a secure, encrypted connection that allows you to surf the web safely from anywhere.
  • Don’t Carry Personal Data With You – Don’t carry your extra credit cards, Social Security card, birth certificate or passport. Carrying these items can increase the risk of them being stolen or lost. Leave these at home in a secure place, like a fireproof safe, so the risk of them being stolen or lost is reduced.
  • Use A Shredder – Shred all credit card offers, bank statements, records and other paperwork that contains sensitive data. Using a cross-cut shredder is best. Too many thieves rummage through your trash to find treasure (check out our shredder reviews on our sister site, We Rock Your Web).
  • Create Complex Passwords – A safe password has a minimum of 12 characters and is a mix of letters, numbers and special characters. It is also unique for every login you create. Some of the most common passwords are password, 123456 and abc123. Please DO NOT USE THESE!
  • Go Paperless – Sign up for paperless bank statements, so you don’t risk someone else receiving your banking information and using it against you.
  • Get Identity Theft Protection! – The #1 thing you can do is be proactive by signing up for an identity theft protection service that monitors your online accounts for you and notifies you if anything suspicious occurs.

Don’t Be Another Victim

In 2017, identity theft occurred once every 2 seconds. That’s a frightening statistic, and that’s just the beginning of them. We’ve got many more Identity Theft Statistics that not only will scare you but also prove that none of us is exempt from becoming a victim.

Identity theft has become personal for many of us who work for Safe Smart Living. You can read real Identity Theft Examples from our readers and us. Fortunately, you can protect yourself by following our suggestions.

How Can I Monitor My Personal Information For ID Theft?

ID theft protection iconInvesting in ID theft protection is one of the best things you can do to protect your identity from a thief. Identity theft protection monitors your personal information online and notifies you of any suspicious activity. This can include your Social Security number, bank account information, credit cards, loan details, insurance, driver’s license and more.

There are many companies to turn to for this service, but not all are created equal. We’ve compared the top companies and chosen the Best Identity Theft Protection based on items monitored, price, restoration services, reputation, family/child coverage and mobile access.

You can learn more about our top 3 picks (IDShieldIdentityForce and Identity Guard) and other companies (Lifelock, Intelius and Complete ID) in their individual reviews. And, if you want to see some head-to-head comparisons, we’ve got Identity Guard vs Lifelock, IdentityForce vs Identity Guard, IdentityForce vs Lifelock and IDShield vs Lifelock to help you compare apples to apples, and understand why one company ranks higher than the other.

Occasionally, we interview CEOs or other higher-ups in the companies, including this one with Steve Bearak from IdentityForce.

Monitor Your Credit Score & Report

Another step to monitoring the safety of your identity is to check your credit report and score regularly. A credit report has information about your credit activity and current standing.

A credit score is a number based on the information in your report — the higher your credit score, the better. Lenders use this number to decide if they want to work with you.

Credit Monitoring Service iconIf you see that your credit score has suddenly taken a hit, but you have a good credit history, there may be cause for concern. Someone may have opened a line (or two, or more) of credit in your name. At least you caught it, thanks to your credit score monitoring, so you can get it fixed sooner rather than later. People who don’t monitor their credit report and score can go months (or even years) without realizing someone stole their identity.

You have many options to monitor your credit. Many of the identity theft protection companies include credit monitoring in their top-tier packages. You can also purchase it separately through one of the companies listed in our Best Credit Monitoring Service comparison.

Is ID Theft Protection Worth It?

Watch this video to see some statistics about identity theft, the most common way it happens and why it’s worth it to be protected.

The monthly price for identity theft protection is minimal compared to the potential loss to your personal assets, finances, and time spent recovering your personal data in the case of an incident.

What’s It Like To Have Your Identity Stolen?

Now that you have read these identity theft tips, hopefully you won’t have to live through the trauma of identity theft. But, in this day and age, we all know someone who has been a victim of ID theft! You can learn from others by reading these real life-stories of people who have had their identity stolen.

How Does Identity Theft Happen?

There are both old school as well as more technologically sophisticated ways for savvy cyber thieves to snatch your data.

Low Tech Methods

Mailbox with mail: Mail TheftThese days, we worry so much about cybercrime, it’s easy to forget about old-school methods of identity theft. Yes, thieves still target people in the following ways, and senior citizens are most susceptible.

  • Wallet Theft – If your wallet goes missing, it likely contains a ton of personal information ripe for thieves to steal your identity: your driver’s license, social security card, credit cards, health insurance cards and more. TIPSTry to carry only what you absolutely need in your wallet when you go out. Social security cards are best left in a secure location (at home, ideally in a locked safe). You may have heard of RFID (radio-frequency identification) theft which is when someone steals your info digitally from your credit cards without even touching your wallet. We suggest you consider an RFID blocker to reduce this threat.
  • Mail Theft – Identity thieves can intercept your incoming mail to steal your personal information, pre-approved credit card offers and checks made out to you. TIP: Don’t ever leave your sensitive, outgoing mail in your home mailbox. Make sure you place it in a mailbox where no one can access it or take it straight to the post office.
  • Dumpster Diving – When throwing out old bills, bank statements and other documents that contain personal information, be extremely mindful. Thieves still dig through outdoor trash bins to find personal data to steal. TIP: Use a paper shredder or burn sensitive documents.
  • Phone and Email Scams – Yes, you’ve heard about phone and email scams for years now, but they’re still prevalent, and clever thieves continually change their game plan. TIP: Don’t ever disclose your personal information to anyone who calls or emails asking for it, whether they are posing as a charity, government agency, bank, insurance company or other business.
  • Personal Theft – Although you want to trust your relatives, friends, co-workers, housekeepers and other people who you let into your personal life, there’s always a risk that your personal information could be stolen from those closest to you. TIP: To best protect your personal documents in your home, lock them in a home safe (or better yet, a bank safe deposit box).
  • Guessing – Sad but true that many people still use easy to hack passwords like “password”, pet’s name, etc. TIP: Always create unique passwords for every login and make sure they are at least 12 characters containing a mix of letters, numbers and special characters.

BONUS TIP: Experts say the worst place you can leave personal documents is the top right drawer of your home desk.

High-Tech Methods

Computer getting hacked

We often think of cybercrime as more of a threat now than old-school identity theft, and there are good reasons for that perception. It’s often harder to target the source of online identity theft because there are so many “backdoors” where thieves can creep in without detection.

The following are some of the more common computer-related methods of identity theft.

  • Phishing – If you receive an email from a financial institution or another business that gives you a link asking for your username and password, do not click it. This is a major red flag! Whether the email is from a known institution or one you’ve never done business with, that email is more than likely from an identity thief wanting to gain access to your online accounts. TIP: Call your bank to discuss before giving away anything, especially in writing online.
  • Spoofing – Spoofing is another method hackers use to gain unauthorized access to your computer. These hackers will disguise themselves and their IP address as a trusted and reliable source, typically in the form of an email. The hope is that you’ll click on a link you believe to be trustworthy, which then drives you to the hacker’s site or to unknowingly download a virus. TIP: If you are unsure whether the request is valid, look up the number online to call the institution and confirm. Do not call the phone number in the email as it may be part of the scam as well.
  • Skimming – A thief can steal your credit or debit card details using a skimmer, a small device that obtains the data from the magnetic strip of a card when it’s swiped (at a gas station or other un-attended card reader). TIP: Use a credit card rather than debit card at unknown locations. Your credit card company can help you chase down a criminal and recover lost funds should an incident happen but the debit card leaves you on your own.
  • WiFi Hacking – If you access a financial or other personal account without being connected to a secure WiFi network, a thief could hack into your computer. TIP: Use a VPN on public WiFi networks.
  • Spyware & Malware – One common way cyber thieves use spyware and malware (types of software that can infect your computer without your knowledge), is to steal your personal information through your keystrokes. This keylogger software records every key you type and sends the records (social security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account logins, etc.) back to the hacker. TIP: Use an anti-virus service and always keep it updated so you are protected from the latest hacks.

7 Common Ways Your Identity Can Be Compromised

Data on screen: How Does Identity Theft Happen?1. Financial ID Theft

Financial identity theft occurs when a thief obtains your financial information and uses it while pretending to be you. The criminal could be a computer hacker or someone you personally know. A significant portion of financial ID theft cases includes family or friends who stole the victim’s information without their knowledge.

This type of theft includes stealing your social security number, driver’s license number, bank account number and/or checking account number to apply for credit cards, loans or pay for items without your knowledge. Consequences of this type of theft are financial loss and a negative impact on your credit history.

2. Online ID Theft

Online identity theft is similar to financial identity theft except it occurs online specifically. This can happen through someone hacking into your computer, email or a website that you use. This type of identity theft is especially popular with how extensive the internet database is.

Cyber attacks and breaches are constantly increasing. In 2017 there were 1,579 breaches with 179 million records exposed compared to 2011 when there were 421 breaches with 22.9 million records exposed.

3. Medical ID Theft

Medical identity theft is when someone steals your information to submit a claim to Medicare or another health insurance company. The perpetrator uses your SSN, medical record ID and/or date of birth. A person who uses this type of ID theft will have expensive procedures, surgeries and/or file false liability, disability or workman’s comp claims under your name. This can result in thousands of dollars worth of bills and worse yet, damage to your medical history.

The most common way to have your medical ID stolen is by a criminal hacking into an insurance or medical facility’s system and taking patients’ information. This data is then used to obtain prescription drugs, physician care or even surgery.

Medical identity theft is much more dangerous than other types of ID theft because it involves permanent identifiable information (like SSN, birthdate, etc.). Therefore, criminals can then use this information for lines of credit or sell the information to others.

Medical ID theft is one of the fastest growing forms of identity theft. The number of patients affected by medical identity theft increases every year. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive forms of identity theft with the average victim dishing out $13,500 to resolve the theft.

4. Criminal Or Character ID Theft

Identity thieves can commit crimes posing as you, and you’ll end up having a criminal record that you’re entirely unaware of. This can keep you from getting a job, or you could even get arrested for crimes you didn’t commit. It then becomes your responsibility to clear your name with the authorities and the court.

5. Social Security ID Theft

Social Security identity theft is when someone steals your SSN. Your SSN is the gateway to your life. If a criminal has access to it, they can use it to get other personal information about you. Once they’ve obtained your personal information, they can use it to apply for credit.

Once they’ve obtained the loan or credit cards, they won’t pay the bills. It damages your credit, and you’re left with a big mess to clean up. It can take some time to realize your stolen Social Security number is being used. Most people find out when they’ve been turned down for credit or they’ve received calls from unknown creditors requesting payment for items they didn’t purchase.

6. Tax ID Theft

Tax identity theft occurs when someone uses your information to file taxes and receive a refund. These thieves typically get away with the crime because they present their fraudulent tax return before you get a chance to file yours. Checkout our 5 must-do tips to prevent tax identity theft on our sister site, We Rock Your Web.

7. Child ID Theft

Child identity theft is when someone obtains a minor’s personal information and uses it to take out a line of credit. Unfortunately, this is a common form of ID theft because many children do not take out lines of credit until they are at least 18-years-old. This lengthy delay makes it difficult to detect since they don’t realize their identity has been tampered with until years after the crime occurred.

1.3 million kids are affected annually by child identity theft with 50% of those being younger than 6-years-old. Children’s credit and SSN’s are abused 51 times more than those of adults.

Latest Data Breach News

Unfortunately, there are security breaches happening regularly with major retailers, credit card companies and other organizations. We’ve compiled a summary of recent major data breaches so you can stay up to date, including how you might be affected and what you can do about it.

What’s The Penalty For Stealing Someone’s Identity?

Identity theft is an act of crime where a person abuses someone else’s personal information resulting in deception or fraud, most commonly for money but also for other purposes. There are a few different types of identity theft, and each can harm you differently (which we’ll explain in the next section).

Penalties for identity theft can vary by state, but a maximum of 15 years imprisonment and hefty fines are some of the ways thieves are punished.

ID Theft Statistics & Facts

Don’t believe ID theft could happen to you? Check out these stats and facts that will make you realize how prevalent it actually is.

  1. ID theft happened once every 2 seconds in 2017.4
  2. Victims of identity theft spent over 140 million hours trying to resolve their issues in 2017.4
  3. The average cost for each lost or stolen record was $221 in 2016 and $225 in 2017.1
  4. The average size of data breaches increased 1.8% in 2017 to more than 24,000 records.1
  5. In 2017, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud.2
  6. In 2017, thieves stole $16.8 billion from consumers in the U.S.2
  7. 6.64% of consumers were victims of identity fraud in 2017.2
  8. In 2016, 13% (399,225) of complaints filed to the FTC were about identity theft, which was the third most common complaint.3
  9. 36 million records (including doctor’s office, school, etc.) were breached in 2016.4
  10. Organizations spent an average of $7.01 million on data breaches in 2015 compared to $7.35 million in 2016.1

Want more? For you stats geeks we have an entire article dedicated to identity theft statistics.

Identity Theft Statistics Infographic

There are so many interesting and terrifying facts about stealing your identity we turned them into an identity theft facts infographic to help spread awareness about this growing issue.

ID Theft Infographic

To share this infographic on your site, simply copy and paste the code below:

More Ways To Protect My Identity

There are other ways to protect your identity that don’t necessarily cost money.

VPNVPN icon

Did you know you should be using a virtual private network every time you connect to public WiFi? Consider this the next time you use your favorite coffee shop’s internet. We have an entire section on VPN where we discuss the top providers, step-by-step setup instructions, practical tips on public WiFi security, and more.

RFID Wallets

RFID Wallets iconEver heard of RFID (radio frequency identification) wallets? RFID wallets block criminals from reading your card’s RFID chip with an RFID reader. All they have to do is come within inches of you, and then they’re all set to go shopping or sell your information.

RFID theft is possibly one of the scariest ways to have your identity stolen. Just think about all the people you pass on your way to work, going grocery shopping, etc. You may want to consider getting an RFID wallet, but first, find out if RFID wallets really work.

Spoof Calls

Spoof Calls iconSpoof calls blowing up your phone is frustrating. You answer the phone, only to find out it’s some scam artist trying to take your personal information or money. We’ve got an article dedicated to How To Stop Spoofing Calls.

Other Tips & Tricks

We have more Cyber Security Tips & Tricks explaining why you shouldn’t pay for your gas at the pump and why you should sign up for two-factor authentication (2FA, or two-factor authentication, adds an additional identity check to confirm it’s you, such as sending you a text on your cell phone).

Speaking of two-factor authentication, could passwords become obsolete? Logging into our accounts tomorrow could mean scanning your fingerprint or iris instead of entering a password. Protecting this information (known as Zero Knowledge Proof) is much easier than protecting a 12-digit password.

Smart Home Devices Need Protecting Too

Smart Firewall iconSmart home gadgets are increasing in popularity. With each one you purchase, it means there’s one more opportunity for a hacker to weasel their way into your home. Fortunately, there’s a way for you to protect your smart home gadgets through the use of a smart home firewall.

Smart home firewalls protect your devices against hackers, malware and viruses. If you’re a smart home fanatic, your privacy is at risk. That’s why we recommend you read about the Best Smart Firewall where we cover companies such as Cujo.

Should I Get Identity Theft Insurance?

As an added precaution, you can sign-up for identity theft insurance, which will reimburse you for the cost of restoring your identity after it’s stolen. This includes lost wages, phone bills, notary and certified mailing costs, and attorney fees. We discuss this further and some companies to choose from in our Identity Theft Insurance article.

Note: Before signing up for ID theft insurance, you should check with your identity theft protection service (if you have one) to see what its restoration services entail. Many monitoring services offer restoration services, so insurance may not be needed.

Data Breaches You Need To Be Aware Of

Millions of people have suffered significant data breaches in recent years, and we want to keep you up to date with the Latest Data Breach News. We cover the latest ID theft breaches you should be aware of, show you how to see if your identity was compromised, and give you actionable steps to protect yourself. Includes massive events like the Equifax data breach.

What’s stopping you from protecting your identity?

Disclaimer: Information regarding insurance company offerings, pricing, and other contract details are subject to change by the insurance company at any time and are not under the control of this website. Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. Please review your policy carefully before signing up for a new insurance contract or any other contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those that may be used for example purposes in this article.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing products and services. Kimberly has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering subjects such as home security and automation, identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems and more. In 2018, she had her first child, and that opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family. Security is a passion of hers, and she knows it isn’t a one size fits all category. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

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