Identity Theft Protection
"People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or
years - and thousands of dollars - cleaning up the mess the
thieves have made of their good name and credit record."
- Federal Trade Commission: When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name, September 2002
What is identity theft? How can I get fraud protection? Can I get credit protection? Where can I learn about identity theft and ways to protect myself and my family? These are the some of the questions we can help answer. Continue reading as we help make you better informed.
• Do you hand your credit card to servers at restaurants?
• Do you sign your credit cards?
• Do you supply personal information over the internet?
• Do you keep your Social Security number in your wallet or purse?
• Do you leave mail at your home or business for the postal carrier to collect?
• Do you shred unwanted mail with personal information?
• Do other people ever run your credit report?
• Can you be sure data security is good at companies that have your information?
According to the FTC, in the last five years, 27.3 million people have been victims of identity theft. The
number in 2002 alone was 9.9 million. What if it happens to you? The Identity Theft Shield can help lessen your
We live in an information-oriented society. Technology allows us to do business and make transactions literally in a matter of seconds. This abundance of information has given rise to a new crime - identity theft. In fact, according to a 2003 release from the Federal Trade Commission, approximately 27 million Americans have fallen prey to identity thieves since 1999. Each year that number climbs higher and higher. In 2003 alone, almost 10 million people in the United States reported being victimized by identity bandits.
So what does that mean? Someone has stolen your credit card – your credit card company can help you with that, right? Well, according to the FTC, almost 60% of identity theft issues don’t pertain to your existing credit card accounts. Identity theft can occur as a result of new lines of credit being opened in your name either through credit cards or bank loans, as well as phone/utility fraud and even employment related fraud. Because we are susceptible through so many avenues in our daily life, we are all at risk.
What can you do? Where would you turn if you found yourself in this situation? Would you know where to start to clear your name? Well, now you don’t have to worry about what to do as we have the answer.
As you already know, LegalShield is a pioneer of the legal services industry. With more than 30 years of experience in providing legal rights protection to our members, we have now teamed with Kroll., the world’s largest risk consulting company.
For more than 30 years, Kroll has helped companies, government agencies and individuals reduce their exposure to risk and capitalize on business opportunities. Kroll is an operating unit of Marsh Inc., the risk and insurance services subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., the global professional services firm. With offices in more than 60 cities in the United States and abroad, Kroll can operate and restructure businesses; scrutinize accounting practices and financial documents; gather and filter electronic evidence for attorneys; recover lost or damaged data from computers and servers; conduct in-depth investigations; screen domestic and foreign-born job candidates; protect individuals, and enhance security systems and procedures. Over the last three years, Kroll has developed a unique solution for victims of identity theft. This new service is now available to LegalShield members through the IDENTITY THEFT SHIELD benefit.
What does this benefit provide our members?
The Identity Theft Shield gives you easy access to the resources you need to understand your credit ratings and to fight back if an identity thief threatens your financial standing. This benefit is designed to alert you to suspicious account activity, and to restore any resulting damage to your credit history.
1. Credit Report Through Experian
Make sure your financial records are accurate.
Your credit standing is one of your most important financial assets. It not only affects your ability to get credit, it often dictates the interest rate at which you can borrow. It can also affect your ability to purchase insurance or to find
employment. Some insurance companies and prospective employers use your credit rating to gauge your sense of responsibility.
Experts recommend you review your credit report regularly. The Identity Theft Shield makes it easy. Members are entitled to an up-to-date credit report from Experian at no additional charge.
Personal Credit Score and Analysis from Experian
Know your credit score . . . and how it affects your ability to borrow.
Your credit score is derived from the information in your credit report. This score is used by lenders to determine your creditworthiness. The higher the number, the better your chance of being approved for the credit you want.
A detailed analysis of your Personal Credit Score will be included with your Credit Report. You can use this analysis to evaluate your current credit standing.
2. Continuous Credit Monitoring Through Experian
Learn of suspicious activity before your credit is ruined.
A professional thief can assume your identity in just a few hours. But it can take years for you to repair your credit standing. Early detection is key to minimizing the damage caused by thieves who steal you name.
With your Identity Theft Shield membership, your credit files will be monitored through Experian daily. Suspicious activity will be brought to your attention, providing you with early detection. You’ll receive prompt notice if any new accounts are opened in your name . . . or if negative notations are added to your credit report.
3. Fraud Restoration Service
Get personal assistance and advice from experts.
Any discrepancy in your credit report should be addressed at once. Call our Customer Service Department at the
designated Identity Theft Shield number and explain your concerns. If it is identity theft, our fraud investigators will
assist you every step of the way. A Fraud Restoration package with complete and detailed materials, aids, and
instructions will be rushed to you.
If you sign a Limited Power of Attorney, you will be entitled to Enhanced Restoration Services. Kroll will work with you to determine the extent of the fraud in your credit and regarding your identity. On your behalf, Kroll will issue fraud alerts to the three major credit repositories, the Federal Trade Commission, the Social Security Administration, and the United States Postal Service. Kroll will work with the bureaus, creditors, and collection agencies to restore your credit accuracy with regard to your identity theft issues. If necessary and reasonable, Kroll will work with law
enforcement, the department of motor vehicles, and other organizations to resolve your identity theft issues.
If you decline the Limited Power of Attorney, you will receive Basic Consulting Services. Kroll will work with you to determine the extent of the fraud in your credit and regarding your identity. Kroll will provide you with contact
information and procedures for the organizations you will need to work with. Kroll will provide sample letters and forms and be available to you through a toll-free phone number for assistance and advice throughout the process of restoring your identity.
Now, it is important to understand any identity theft that occurred prior to the membership enrollment or any situations relating to a business identity are not covered. Identity Restoration will not apply if the identity theft is the result of a dishonest, criminal, malicious, or fraudulent act you, your spouse, or child participated in, directed, or had knowledge of. Restoration services will not be provided for a preexisting, known stolen identity event. You must be an active, paid member to receive restoration services. Plan benefits do not cover financial losses arising from the identity theft.
Did you know, that on average, $1,200 in out-of-pocket expenses to clear their names? With LegalShield’s
IDENTITY THEFT SHIELD, the cost of combating identity theft is much less. For just $12.95 a month [$9.95 along with the LegalShield membership], IDENTITY THEFT SHIELD members have the added security of knowing they have someone to fight the battle for them. And the best thing is, this monthly fee provides benefits to you, the member, and your spouse.
Reports on identity theft are everywhere - television, newspapers, magazines, talk shows, etc. Now that you know this benefit is available, doesn’t it make sense to have this sort of coverage? Imagine the peace of mind you would have
knowing you and your spouse would have access to all of these services if you found yourself to be an identity theft statistic? Contact, David Newton, Independent Associate, to sign up for your Identity Theft membership by calling 919-302-8849 or using the contact page found on this site. Don’t wait until it is too late - do it today!
For a full list of disclosures and exclusions, please consult the Identity Theft Shield written material provided by LegalShield.
To purchase a plan or obtain more information please contact us through the contact page or call us at 919-302-8849.
5 Ways to Safeguard Your Identity Before a Natural Disaster Like Hurricane Sandy
In light of the devastation and havoc that Hurricane Sandy wreaked on the east coast, I wanted to share precautions and steps to take to help protect an often forgotten possession just before a natural disaster occurs. Your identity is thought to be a given until you have to prove who you are when asking for governmental assistance after a hurricane, or trying to come to the aid of a deceased relative’s kids who don’t have proper identification in place. When preparing for natural disaster, most gather together items such as flashlights, batteries, water, and food. But, during and after a flood, hurricane, earthquake, fire or tornado, the safety of your identity is extremely important.
Beside the fact that you are more vulnerable to identity theft when these events occur, important personally identifiable information can be destroyed ,lost, blown away, burned, washed away or just thrown away because it was thought to be unusable. Real effort should be given to the safety of your identity and that of your family before a natural disaster occurs. Here are few of the ways Kroll, the leading risk management company in the world, says you can better prepare for an emergency when it comes to the safety of your identity.
• Make sure personal documents such as driver’s license and proof of insurance are up-to-date.
• Destroy any old or out-of-date documents that are no longer needed such as old tax returns or other financial records which contain your personally identifiable information.
• Organize and inventory the documents you have kept. You should list where PII(personally identifiable information) are and what documents are represented where. Describe any containers but, do not list any identifiers such as SSN. Be sure to keep your list in a secure location.
• Types of documents to include in your list
o Driver’s license
o Birth certificate
o Social Security cards
o List of prescriptions and doctors
o Financial documents
o Insurance policies
o Car titles
o Electronic devices such as computers, flash drives and phones may also contain PII
Store these items in protective containers and in secure locations at home, safety deposit boxes, or a trusted relative’s home. Inform family members of where you have stored these items. Also, be mindful that if the locations you’ve chosen are threatened, it could still be difficult to obtain your PII when needed. For more information on how to protect your identity, visit sbbsm.com or call 919-302-8849. Good luck and be safe.
Halloween Identity Theft
It’s Halloween and it is a lot fun to dress up and pretend to be someone else or “something else”. We spend just a short time taking on the persona of whomever we want to portray; however, it is just for fun. We aren’t doing it to bilk or otherwise harm someone. But, there are criminals who do this every day and not just for fun.
Identity thieves are around every corner actively seeking every opportunity to cash in on your honest life. Now, with the advancement of technology, they don’t even necessarily have to leave home to do it. Still, when you leave home, you should be extra careful with any electronic devices such as cell phones, Ipads, or laptops. When you are out having a good time, criminals see this as a golden opportunity to take advantage of your good mood. Here are just a few suggestions this Halloween.
· Be sure to have good security software on your electronic devices
· You don’t have to always link your mobile devices to “everything”
· Password protect all devices with at least a 13 character password(include numbers and punctuation)
· Treat your electronic devices as if you are at the airport; don’t let them leave your sight
· Carry only what you need
Remember identity thieves don’t have to resemble the monsters we portray during Halloween. They may look like the average Jekyll. For more tips on protecting your identity, call 919-302-8849. Be safe and have fun.
If your child, age 17 and under, receives a credit card application, you may have an identity theft problem. Many identity thieves prefer stealing children’s identities because they know it is likely to go unrecognized until they are 18 years old. That’s 18 years of abuse to a child’s name. Many children turn 18 only to find they have bad credit and creditors seeking payment for things of which the family are not even aware.
So, if your child gets an application, don’t just throw it away. First, shred the application as it often contains personally identifiable information. Then you should check to see if your child already has a credit file by contacting all 3 credit bureaus. If there are items on the credit file that you do not recognize, dispute them immediately. Also, remember to check other data bases such as utilities and the IRS. Good luck.
Here are some of the most common ways criminals steal your personally identifiable information.
Lost or stolen wallets and purses
Card reading devices
For a compilation of phone numbers and governmental agencies providing free service to the public if you are a victim of many types of identity theft, plus instructions visit www.sbbsm.com.
Almost $1.5 billion is the amount criminals committing identity theft sought in fraudulent tax returns in 2011 according to Michelle Singletary of The Washington Post. Tax identity theft is on the rise and criminals try to file early using stolen Social Security numbers or other personal identifiable information. So you may want to file early. Don’t forget, the IRS will never initiate contact with you via email to ask for any personal or financial information. If you think you may have been a victim of this type of identity theft, contact the IRS at 800-908-4490.