Identity Theft takes place when a criminal steals your sensitive personal information including your SSN (Social Security Number), ID documents, name, and/or banking information to commit fraudulent activities. Typically, the thief uses your identity to open accounts in your name. The most common reasons for identity theft include obtaining credit cards in your name, running up medical expenses in your name, or filing taxes with the IRS. Regardless of the motivation for Identity Theft, it is a felony and a serious invasion of your privacy. Unfortunately, too many people find out too late that they have been the victim of identity theft.
Don’t Wait – Act!
If you don’t act in a timely fashion, you could find yourself with extensive debt, accounts opened in your name, and debt collectors coming after you for their money. All too often, criminals will bypass the security systems on your PC, tablet or phablet and obtain your personal information for use in health insurance benefits or Medicare. Given the exorbitant costs of these medical services, you could find yourself with a nasty surprise. As for identity theft with the IRS, criminals could use your SSN to file false tax returns in your name and either leave you with a big deficit or claim a refund from you. These are some of the many ways that criminal syndicates are running amok. One of the easiest ways for these thieves to access information is the World Wide Web.
Thieves Act with Impunity: Stop them in their Tracks
Identity theft is one of the biggest challenges in the world today. The good news is that there are many effective ways to guard against identity theft. Naturally, you want to always store your private information safely. If you have bank accounts and credit cards, review your bank statements regularly to ensure that every transaction was conducted by you. The minute you spot an unauthorized transaction, contact your bank to report it. The longer you leave things unreported or unchecked, the more difficult it is to disprove them. Another thing to watch out for is bills that are due. If you find that your bills are running late, or they simply don’t arrive, always get in touch with senders to ensure that there is regular billing cycle continuity. Security consultants always advise clients to request copies of free credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. You are legally entitled to one free credit report every year from each of these agencies. Reconcile all elements of your credit report with your home mortgages, credit cards, store credit cards, personal loans, auto loans etc. If you notice an anomaly, report it ASAP.
Beef up Your Personal Antivirus Software
Recall that a great deal of identity theft takes place over the Internet. Often this occurs without our knowledge. In the absence of effective antivirus software, you may soon find yourself staring at a grim reality: criminals have hacked your email, bank account, or even commandeered your operating system. Effective antivirus software runs unobtrusively in the background. You don’t even know that it’s there while it’s doing its thing.
The best antivirus software is like an impenetrable wall for hackers. Luckily, most of us don’t need Fort Knox security to protect against the advances of nefarious actors on the Internet. There are several leading antivirus software programs that offer affordable solutions to the identity theft dilemma. These include TotalAV, Norton, Panda, BullGuard, ScanGuard, and PC Protect.
Many of us unwittingly believe that our Windows or Mac operating systems provide sufficient protection against cyber criminals. This is our first mistake. Freeware is sorely lacking in quality protection. It fails to provide for the watertight security that is needed against hackers. Antivirus software is only as good as the latest updates and patches that we are required to download and install. Failure to do so could leave you vulnerable to attack.
There are easy fixes to the update scenario by simply turning on automatic updates. If you’re looking to gather additional important information about how to safeguard your personal information, you can find more here. It is imperative that you stick with tried and trusted providers of antivirus software, and not fly-by-night operations promising guaranteed security against all threats. Security consultants recommend running the best antivirus programs in addition to a VPN or proxy server to obfuscate your traffic flow and protect your personal information.