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How Do I Know if My Identity Has Been Stolen?

Has Your identity Been Stolen?

 

Identity theft can happen to anyone. It can happen to you, your neighbor, even your baby or child. Identity theft isn’t just a crime that happens on the Net or through credit card theft. Thieves today are smarter and trickier than ever. They use technology in new and enticing ways to get what they want when they want it from unsuspecting, innocent victims.

 

It is vital that you understand how criminals are getting your information, and what they are doing with it.

 

 

Have You Fallen Victim to Any Of The Following?

 

Fraud - Fraud is a type of identity theft that results in having another individual open bank accounts, or apply for and obtain credit in your name. There are many different methods criminals use to obtain your personal inofrmation in order to enable them to do so. Here's a great tip:

 

If someone tries to get your personal information without a reasonable cause (if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is), ask yourself the following questions:

  • "Did I ever contact this person or their company?"

  • "Do I know this person?"

  • "Why should I give them my personal information?"

Attempts to obtain your personal information is typically called "phishing." Below are some tricks identity thieves like to use:

 

  1. They pretent to be from your bank or credit card company, and ask you to verify your identity for security purposes.The easiest way to beat this scam is to ask for their name, and the branch from which they are calling. If they actually give you information (which they usually won't, they'll just hang up), look up the actual branch phone number using the internet, call the branch, and ask for the first and last name provided.

  2. You receive an email from legitimate looking websites asking you to click on a link to verify your password or personal information.Clicking on the link will take you to a website that looks EXACTLY like the actual website. These acts of phishing are very tempting because of the look and feel of the website you visit.One notorious instance of this type of fraud is in relation to PayPal, on online payment processor. Neither PayPal, your bank, or any credit card company will ever send you an email asking you to update your personal information. If you receive an email about your account, Do Not click on the link. Rather, go to the website directly from your browser, then find out of there is any need to confirm any type of information. Of course, you can always find the phone number and call the company directly.

  3. False claims of winnings such as prizes, sweepstakes, or lottery winnings
    These type of phishing attacks are simple to detect. You will receive mail or email claming you have won something, even though you did nothing to didn't apply for or do anything to get them. Through email, you will usually be directed to a website which will attempt to gather your personal and credit information. Through regular mail, you will be directed to call a number and when prompted, enter your personal details. You often will be asked for your credit information in order to pay a small transaction fee to process your winnings. The bottom line here is that if you didn't enter the sweepstakes, purchase the lottery ticket, or do anything to win a prize, then there is little doubt the email or direct mail is fradulent.

  4. Credit Protection and Repair
    This phishing attempt usually involves a thieft posing as a legitimate bank or credit repair service. They offer guarantees that they can repair your credit in a short period of time that appear to make them a legit business. Here's a simple tip. Nobody, not a lawyer or even your credit card company, can instantly repair your credit. Repairing your credit takes time, so if someone calls you and guarantees hey can do instantly, or even close to instantly, chances are they are thieves trying to get your personal information

  5. The Foreign Money Scam
    This is by far the most well known and pervasive internet scam anywhere, but it still impacts 1000's of victims everyday. It works like this. You receive a letter or email from a foreign representative asking you to help them transfer money overseas. The amount is usually in the millions of dollars. The scam artist offers you a percentage of the money in exchange for your assistance. They then ask for your personal details such as name, address, phone, and banking details. Some will even go so far as to send you fake documents and statements of wire transfers. There are so many ways to detect this scam that I will only give you the 3 which work 100% of the time. 1) The email you receive doesn't have your name anywhere. 2) You have never contacted or met the person who sent you the email. 3) The "to" line doesn't contain your actual email address. If you see any of these 3 items, the email is a scam. Here's an example (I get these daily):
    "Hello ,
    I am Mr. James Evans senior manager accounts/audit department, in SPRING BANK PLC. DR. GEORGE BRUMLEY, who was a contractor with Shell-development Company in Nigeria and a personal friend died and left behind his deposit in this bank (SPRING BANK PLC) valued USD 20,723,822.90.In my department, I discovered an abandoned sum of USD 20,723,822.90.,(Twenty Million, Seven Hundred and Twenty Three Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty-Two Dollars, Ninety Cents) only, in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customers who died along with his entire family in a plane crash that took place in Kenya, East Africa, the Late DR.GEORGE BRUMLEY, a citizen of Atlanta, United States of America but resident here in Nigeria, West Africa and a physician.Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of kin to come over and claim his money because it cannot be released unless somebody applies for it as next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines but unfortunately, all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody behind to claim this money.Therefore upon this discovery, that I now decided to make this business proposal to you and release the money to you via your foreign bank account as the next of kin or relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody is coming for it, and would not want this money to go into the Bank treasury as unclaimed Bill.The Banking law and guideline here stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after four years; the money will be transferred into the Bank treasury as unclaimed fund. The request for your assistance and maximum co- operation as a foreign citizen is to stand as the next of kin in this business as occasioned by the fact, that the deceased customer was a foreigner. I am willing to give you 40% of this money. Upon receipt of your response indicating your willingness to work with me, I will send to you by fax or email the contact information of the paying bank, which you will use to submit the application of claims and I will direct you on how to do that. This transaction is strictly confidential and I will use my position in this Bank to effect a hitch free transfer of the fund into any nominated bank account of yours. I guarantee that this transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you and I from any reach of the law. Please get in touch with me through my email: and send to me your full name telephone and fax numbers to enable us discuss further about this transaction. You can visit the website below for more information about the Plane Crash and the tragic death of the deceased and his entire family, Late DR GEORGE BRUMLEY. http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/africa/07/20/kenya.crash/index.html Awaiting your urgent reply. Thanks and my regards.Mr. James Evans."

 

Better yet, Get LifeLock
 

LifeLock, is the industry leader in proactive identity theft protection, and offers a proven solution that prevents your identity from being stolen before it happens. We'll protect your identity and personal information for only $10 a month - and they guarantee our service up to $1,000,000. They also offer the only identity theft child protection program available in the market, so guarantee your good name today and get LifeLock

Verifying Your Identity Has Been Stolen

Thieves steal your identity for 1 reason; they want to gain access to your credit and use it to make money. If you think you have the victim of identity theft, here's what you need to do to make sure:

 

  1. Get a copy of your credit report from all 3 credit agencies. Experian, TransUnion, EquiFax Experian offers a 3 agency credit report through True Credit on their website

  2. Look through the credit applications on your credit report to see if an application was filed that you didn't request. Unlike credit use, credit applications are added to your report instantly.

  3. Look through your active credit for cards for which you didn't apply

  4. Look through your balances and make sure they match up reasonably close to your credit card statements. Note that the credit report is going to be behind your actualy credit statement by 30 - 60 days.

  5. Check your mortgage balances.

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3 Responses to 'How Do I Know if My Identity Has Been Stolen?'

  1. What Happens If Your Identity Is Stolen? | Top Internet Guides - December 10th, 2007 at 8:44 am

    [...] Detection - There are many you can verify your Identity has been stolen, but the fastest and easiest is to frequently check your credit report.  Below are links to the individual credit agencies: [...]

  2. What To Do If You Think Your Identity Has Been Stolen | Top Internet Guides - December 11th, 2007 at 8:32 am

    [...] actually a victom of identity theft. If you’re not sure, check out our article “How Do I know If My Identity Has Been Stolen” for steps you can take to verify you’re identity has been comprimised. [...]

  3. Do I Need a Lawyer if My ID is Stolen?” - January 21st, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    [...] How Do I Know if My Identity Has Been Stolen? [...]


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