The definition of “identity theft” varies from Webster’s to Wikipedia and others. However, this is one of those cases where a definition and explanation straight from the FTC really does a fine job of outlining the situation. We have posted some of the highlights here, but encourage you to read the concerns of the FTC as they have dedicated an entire set of pages to inform us about the realities of identity theft and fraud.
This kind of focus from the FTC should send a message to all of us about the magnitude of the problem we are facing. You can view the site here if you like. Otherwise, here are a few of the details:
Identity theft is when someone uses your personal information, like your SSN, name, bankcards, etc. without your permission, to commit fraud or other violations of the law.
- The FTC estimates 9 million Americans experience identity theft every year.
- Criminals may get a credit card, open a new line of credit, rent an apartment, or open a telephone account with your ID.
- You may not find out about the theft until after the crime is complete when you review your credit report or credit card statement or worse yet you are contacted by a debt collector.
- Identity theft is serious. Some victims can resolve problems quickly, others spend thousands of dollars and many hundreds of hours resolving damage to their good name and credit records.
- Some victims may lose out on job opportunities, or have education, housing, or car loans rejected.
- In rare cases, people have been arrested for crimes they did not commit.
Clearly no fun! But we no longer have to just hope our identity is safe. There are now services in place that offer proactive identity protection from these potential issues for as low as $0.30 per day. They not only offer you help with the protection of your identity but also back up their services with identity insurance or guarantees of up to 1 Million Dollars.
LifeLock, Identity Guard and IdentityForce are truly examples of companies that have combined new technologies into very affordable and valuable services. You can compare identity theft protection companies here.
Alternatively, you can learn more about the services provided by these identity protection companies by reading our reviews of each company located at the top right hand side of every page.
If your still unsure if you need a company then see our article titled Identity Protection – Do I Really Need It? to see why you may need them to help protect you and your family from identity theft.
To learn more about identity theft including tips for protecting yourself and other educational articles please see our blog on identity theft.