A Real-Time Way To Avoid Identity Theft

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As identity thieves become more of a threat to individuals and businesses, many people wish they had someone–or something–to watch over and guard their valuable financial information.

A Real-Time Way To Avoid Identity Theft

As identity thieves become more of a threat to individuals and businesses, many people wish they had someone-or something-to watch over and guard their valuable financial information.

While most consumers can’t afford a financial bodyguard, many are taking advantage of a real-time identity management service that can potentially avert identity crimes.

I consider one service, Identity Sweep, developed with MyPublic Info (MyPublicInfo.com) and Affinion Group (www.affiniongroup .com), a leader in credit monitoring and identity theft, to be more proactive than any other. It may be the consumer’s best chance at avoiding identity-related criminal abuse. Identity Sweep protects consumer identities in three ways:

1. It includes a leading-edge identity fraud detection technology that scans billions of public records for suspicious activity associated with identity fraud, including attempts to create a synthetic identity. The service analyzes the suspicious activity to provide a risk score.

2. It searches Internet newsgroups, search engines, blogs and hundreds of thousands of chat rooms and Web sites looking for personal and financial information. It instantly notifies consumers by e-mail of any suspicious activity related to their personal information before the customer is victimized. This technology works faster than credit card and credit bureau monitoring services.

3. It scans online directories that list a consumer’s information and requests removal of that information to prevent abuse by telemarketers and identity thieves.

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Tips For Protecting And Restoring Your Identity

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Modern technology has made lives easier, but it has also made it easier for thieves to commit what the U.S. Postal Service has called the fastest-growing crime in America–identity theft.

Tips For Protecting And Restoring Your Identity

Modern technology has made our lives easier, but it has also made it easier for thieves to commit what the U.S. Postal Service has called the fastest-growing crime in America-identity theft.

If you ever become a victim of identity theft, would you know what to do to help restore your name? There are many issues that may need to be addressed, such as:

• Understanding your rights as a victim.

• Filling out paperwork, including police reports.

• Issuing a Fraud Alert to the three major credit bureaus, financial institutions and credit card companies, as well as the Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles, Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Postal Service.

• Obtaining copies of your credit bureau reports and working with the three major credit bureaus to restore the accuracy of your credit history.

You can also get help if you become a victim. As this crime grows increasingly common, consumers, who spent up to 300 million hours trying to resolve problems created by identity theft in 2003 (Federal Trade Commission), are looking for options for dealing with the costs and hassles related to this problem.

Some insurance companies, including Allstate Insurance Company, are offering identity restoration coverage. This type of coverage, often added for an additional fee to homeowners, renters and/or condominium insurance coverage, can provide customers access to identity restoration assistance and reimburse them for covered expenses incurred to help restore their identity.

While this coverage can help victims of identity theft recover their lives, it is still up to individuals to protect themselves. The following six tips can help make you less vulnerable to identity theft:

• Don’t carry unneeded credit cards.

• Cancel all unused, lost or stolen credit card accounts immediately.

• Keep Social Security cards, birth certificates and other personal documents in a secure lock box or safety deposit box. Don’t carry them, or duplicates, in a wallet.

• Check credit histories periodically and report any unauthorized activity.

• Keep careful track of all receipts. Store them in a safe place or destroy them before putting them in the trash.

• Do not give out Social Security numbers or other information to any person or company unless you are familiar with them and you have initiated the conversation.

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