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Countering The Unseen Enemy: The Urgency Of Identity Theft Protection

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Countering The Unseen Enemy: The Urgency Of Identity Theft Protection

In today’s world, everyone knows that being active on the internet and social media makes you a target for identity theft from cybercriminals. The only question is whether you are taking the necessary proactive measures to protect your identity. The frequency of identity theft and the methods used by criminals to exploit victims are constantly on the rise. So, why is it so urgent to have identity theft protection?

Not only can identity theft lead to financial loss, but it can also cause serious damage to your credit score and even result in criminal legal trouble. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to protect your personal information.

This article highlights the importance of safeguarding your identity by using identity theft protection services. We’ll also give you some fundamental tips and strategies on how to protect yourself from identity theft, from keeping track of your credit report to making your online transactions secure.

Our goal is to equip you with the necessary information you need to protect yourself from the harmful effects of identity theft and cybercrime. Discover effective strategies to protect your valuable assets and safeguard yourself against future challenges. Let’s get started!

What Is Identity Theft?

Identity theft happens when someone steals your name and your social security number, along with other bits of personal information, which they can then use to:

  • Conduct illegal or criminal activities using your existing accounts
  • Open new credit card accounts and shop for major purchases
  • Get loans using your name and your information, in order to buy expensive items like cars or homes
  • Siphon off all your money from your bank accounts
  • Get medical services under your name
  • And more.

The Impact Of Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious crime that can have devastating effects on its victims. When someone’s personal information is stolen, it opens the door for fraudsters to exploit it without their knowledge or consent. This can lead to fraudulent purchases, unauthorized loans, and various forms of financial fraud.

The consequences are not just limited to financial loss, as victims may also suffer from damaged credit scores, increased financial pressure, and constant worry about their personal information being misused. It is crucial for individuals to take preventative measures and stay vigilant in order to protect themselves from becoming victims of identity theft.

Online Fraud Statistics

Identity theft is a growing concern, with millions of people falling victim to it each year, resulting in billions of dollars lost. Statistics show that identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. Here are some recent statistics that may not surprise you, but should alarm you nonetheless:

  • In 2023, there were 5.7 million cases of fraud reported, of which 1.4 (25%) were identity theft cases.
  • $10.2  billion was lost due to cybercrime, double the previous year’s losses.
  • Identity theft rates occur at a rate of 1 every 22 seconds.
  • 1 out of every 3 (33%) Americans will become victims of identity theft in their lifetime.
  • The most victimized age group is 30-39 years old, followed by 40-49 years old.
  • California ranks first in the nation in identity theft cases but 22nd in per capita cases.
  • 87% (almost 9 out of 10) people leave personal information exposed online without knowing it.
  • Only 14% of online users use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect their identities.
  • 65% of people admit to using the same password across multiple sites.

Preventative Measures Anyone Can TakeOnline predators will use a variety of tactics to obtain your personal information. To even the playing field, you need to take every precaution at your disposal to protect yourself and your identity and prevent it from being stolen. Here are some suggestions:

  • Set parental controls on your computers and mobile devices
  • Change the default privacy settings
  • Use a theft protection service
  • Turn off third-party cookies in your browser
  • Enable multi-factor authentication on your accounts
  • Provide something other than your full name on your social media profiles
  • Use an encrypted email service or messaging app
  • Disable microphone access on your devices
  • Use VPN to encrypt your data
  • Delete social media accounts

Just like putting on extra layers of clothing to protect yourself from the cold, every protective layer you can add will help keep your personal information safe.

Do I Need Identity Theft Protection?

Another option is to use an identity theft protection service (or company) to help you safeguard your personal information and protect your identity. These kinds of services offer tools and assistance, such as warnings if there is any kind of suspicious activity.

Obviously, not everyone needs to use an identity theft protection service, but some people like to use a combination of the steps above to give themselves extra protection. If you feel that you are at risk of having your identity stolen, then it might well be worth it.

Types Of Identity Theft Protection Services 

Identity theft protection services offer a range of features and benefits to help individuals safeguard their personal information and prevent identity theft.

  • Credit-monitoring services: Such services monitor your credit report and email you every time someone accesses your account without permission, opens a new account in your name, or changes your credit score. Example: Identity Guard (identityguard.com) is a leading credit-monitoring service that provides real-time alerts and credit reports.
  • Fraud alerts: Add a fraud alert to your credit file so that lenders can take extra steps to verify new credit applications made in your name. Example: Use the TransUnion Fraud Alert feature to place a fraud alert on your credit report for extra security.
  • Identity theft insurance: It offers coverage for financial losses arising from identity theft, such as legal expenses and lost pay. Example: LifeLock offers identity theft insurance for up to $1 million: Lost wages, stolen funds, and legal expenses are covered.
  • Dark web monitoring: Services monitor the dark web, where your personal information is often sold after it is stolen, to alert you if your data shows up there. Example: Experian’s Dark Web Scan monitors the dark web for your Social Security number, email addresses, and other personal information.
  • Social security number (SSN) monitoring: That service tracks any use of your Social Security number outside of your state of residence and alerts you if the number appears to be used fraudulently. Example: IdentityForce, for instance, provides SSN surveillance: It monitors public databases for release of your SSN and alerts you about your SSN number being used in public documents known to have the potential for fraud or identity theft.
  • Identity restoration services: If you’re a victim of identity theft, this option also assists in restoring your identity or fixing problems. Example: IdentityIQ provides you with identity restoration services such as personal consultant access, help with police report filing, and creditors’ notifications.
  • Password management: Such services help you generate and store complex passwords for all your online accounts, so that you do not have to remember them and be at risk of someone guessing them. Example: LastPass stores and remembers all your passwords for you, and auto-fills them for your benefit.
  • Two-factor authentication: This means that, along with your usual username and password, you’ll have to provide a second form of verification—for example, a code sent to your mobile phone—to log on to your accounts. Example: Google Authenticator is a popular 2FA app that creates one-time passwords using a time-based algorithm to provide a second layer of authentication for your accounts.
  • Privacy protection services: These can shield your personal data with virtual telephone numbers, email aliases or masking of your online activity. Example: MySudo is a privacy application that lets you have several phone lines and email addresses, all securely controlled through one app.
  • Public Wi-Fi protection: These services encrypt your connection, so that hackers and identity thieves can’t steal your data when you’re connected to an insecure public Wi-Fi network. Example: NordVPN is a virtual private network service that encrypts all data in and out of your device, so your traffic is private and secure when you are using a public Wi-Fi.

These are just a few examples of the types of identity theft protection services available on the market. It’s important to research and choose the services that best meet your specific needs and budget.

Additionally, some identity theft protection services offer insurance coverage, which can help cover the costs associated with recovering from identity theft, such as legal fees and lost wages. Overall, these services provide individuals with peace of mind and the necessary tools to protect their identities.

Common Misconceptions About Identity Theft Protection

Having a service to help protect you from identity theft certainly can put you at ease, but it isn’t the end all be all for protecting your identity. Just like wearing a seatbelt doesn’t mean you won’t get into an accident, you shouldn’t be any less careful when driving.

Let us examine some common misconceptions about identity theft protection services and how they can be misleading.

Misconception 1: Identity theft protection services can guarantee 100% protection against all forms of identity theft. In reality, no service can completely prevent identity theft, but it can help detect and mitigate the impact of identity theft incidents.

Misconception 2: Identity theft protection services are only necessary for people who have been victims of identity theft in the past. In fact, anyone can benefit from these services, as identity theft can happen to anyone at any time.

Misconception 3: Identity theft protection services are expensive and not worth the cost. While some services can be costly, there are also affordable options available that provide valuable features such as credit monitoring, dark web scanning, and identity theft insurance.

Misconception 4: Identity theft protection services are the same as credit monitoring services. Although credit monitoring is often a component of identity theft protection services, the latter offers a more comprehensive range of features, such as identity monitoring, social security number monitoring, and fraud resolution assistance.

Misconception 5: Identity theft protection services can remove negative information from your credit report: Another misconception is that these services can remove negative information, such as fraudulent accounts, from your credit report. While they can assist in disputing inaccurate information, they cannot remove legitimate negative information from your credit history.

Misconception 6: Identity theft protection services can prevent all types of identity theft: Many people assume that these services can protect against all forms of identity theft, including medical, tax-related, and criminal identity theft. While they can provide some level of protection, it’s important to understand that not all types of identity theft can be fully prevented.

Misconception 7: Identity theft protection services are unnecessary if you have good cybersecurity practices: Some individuals believe that if they have strong passwords, use secure networks, and practice safe online behavior, they don’t need identity theft protection services. However, even with the best cybersecurity practices, there is still a risk of identity theft through data breaches or other means beyond an individual’s control.

Loker Law – Offering Support And Legal Solutions For Identity Theft Victims

If you are looking for an identity theft protection service because you have been the victim of identity theft, our legal team at Loker Law can help you. We’ve seen the devastating effects that identity theft can have on victims and are passionate about helping you put your life back together. If you are dealing with identity theft, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

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