The Department of Justice defines identity theft as: “…all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.”
Am I at Risk?
With an identity being stolen every two seconds, it is expected that this year, over 12 million Americans will have their identity stolen. Four million of those people will have their social security number stolen and consumers and businesses will continue to spend almost 20 billion dollars in an attempt to repair the damage that was done each year.
The 9 states with most identity theft complaints are: Florida, Washington, Oregon, Missouri, Georgia, Michigan, California, Nevada, Arizona.
Are There Resources Available?
There are many services available that can help you prevent your identity from being stolen and can assist you in recovering your identity if it does get stolen. Examples include:
- Identity Guard
- Life Lock
- ID Cuffs
- Identity Force
- Identity Lookout
Each service offers a unique combination of protection methods and pricing options. Most offer daily monitoring of the three bureaus and free trials. Some will also provide identity theft insurance with different monitoring and software options available to choose from.
Most services provide 24/7 customer support and provide alerts for suspicious activity.
Aspire also offers discounted MetLife Defender protection. This service provides identity protection for two adults and all children under 18 in your household. The service also provides credit monitoring, security of financial and medical information, security from child predators and cyber-bullying, and much more.
The MetLife Defender also offers competitive prices for plans along with spending up to five millions dollars in attempts to restore damage.
What Do I need to Consider?
Many services allow customers to access their reports online and through their phones along with “bonus” protection which includes various monitoring options. Some may also offer lost wallet protection and protection for your children’s identities as well.
However, some services miss the mark with what they provide. Some services do not offer protection on bank account information and insurance records while others do not keep up with credit history reports or offer 24/7 customer support. However, some others don’t offer drivers number license protection or don’t offer credit card fraud alerts.
Learning to Protect Yourself
Help to further prevent yourself from falling victim to identity theft such as: locking devices (including computers and cell phones), frequently changing passwords, monitoring bank and credit card accounts, and shredding personal documents.
Take these steps to keep your identity safe and see if a protection service could work for you.