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Entries Tagged 'Identity Theft' ↓

The Growing Problem of Medical Identity Theft in America

30232MedicalRecordsStolenMedical identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country, and although it’s a worldwide problem, it seems to be hitting America especially hard. In fact, nearly 1.5 million Americans have been victims of medical identity theft – a statistic with an estimated total cost of $28.6 billion, which works out to about $20,000 per victim. The credit restoration process for something like that is especially painful, as it affects several parts of each person’s life.

For one, it doesn’t just affect the victim’s credit; it also affects the victim’s medical history, too. Since no credit repair company can adjust a person’s medical records, the fradulent charges end up costing more than just money. Victims of medical identity theft often have a difficult time getting health insurance due to “pre-existing conditions,” regardless of whether or not the “conditions” were actually their own.

Since a credit repair company can’t use the credit restoration process to fix the problems caused by medical theft, the only real course of action people can take are preventative. Here are some ideas that can help you avoid the credit restoration process and forever damaged medical records:

• Invest in a credit protection service. Sure, it’ll cost a few dollars each month, but having somebody watching out for your credit and health history could be well worth the money. Plus, it could save you from having to pay a credit repair company for credit restoration.

• Shred everything that has your information on it. Even if it seems like a benign letter, if it has your name, address or phone number on it, identity thieves can use it to steal your medical or financial identity. Don’t risk throwing papers directly into the trash – always shred them first.

• Monitor your credit report. You can check all three of your credit reports for free, once a year. Be sure to inspect yours closely, and dispute any errors immediately.

Steps You Can Take Today to Prevent Identity Theft

identity theftWhen it comes to identity theft protection, people tend to be their own worst enemies. Throwing away bank statements, old bills and other paperwork with your name and information on it is like daring the underworld to steal your identity. Still, even if you’re diligent about shredding everything, there are still ways that criminals can compromise your identity. Below are a few identity theft protection tips and tricks – use them, and you could prevent identity theft (maybe even your own!):

1. Shred everything. This is by far the most important identity theft protection tip on this list. From bank statements to utility bills, you should run everything through a good shredder before throwing anything out.
2. Check your credit reports frequently. You can check all three of you credit reports for free once a year – why not do it? If you stagger your requests, you can check one report every four months and monitor your credit (for free) throughout the year. If you find something on your credit report that seems out of place, dispute it and do everything you can to get the black mark off of your history.
3. Don’t give out personal information over the phone. Identity theft protection starts with you, so be wary of divulging any important information over the phone. Sure, the call may sound legit, but the good criminals are experts at masking their true intentions. Prevent identity theft from happening by not giving out credit card information, your birth date, mother’s maiden name or social security number over the phone. If it’s a legit request, they’ll send you something via the mail!
4. Take action right away if you suspect something may be wrong. Sometimes, you can’t always prevent identity theft. Your next best course of action is to report anything that seems odd or out of place.

5 Common Online Mistakes that Can Compromise Your Identity (and Credit!)

Identity TheftMost people use the Internet every day, without ever thinking of the potential risks to their identity’s security. Considering the facts about identity fraud, maybe they should. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that 1 in 6 Americans will be a victim of identity theft, this year alone! Since it’s easier to prevent identity theft than it is to get credit repair help, here are five common mistakes that you might be making:

1. Assuming your security software is keeping you safe. Criminals create new viruses all the time, and unless you constantly update your security software, it won’t keep you safe. To keep yourself from signing up for a credit repair program in the future, make sure you have the latest version of your security software.

2. Accessing your accounts through email links. If your bank sends you an email suggesting that you update your account information, manually type in the URL you want to go to – never click the link. “Phishing” scams have become wildly popular, because they’re so effective and extremely hard to detect. Save yourself the headache of having to use a credit repair program, and type the link in yourself.

3. Using the same password for all of your accounts. Unless you want to pay somebody for credit repair help, change up your passwords! Use a variety of numbers and letters, and change your passwords at least twice a year. Otherwise, you’re leaving yourself susceptible to the cyber crooks that want to max out your credit cards.

4. Downloading free software. We’re not saying that everyone who downloads free software will need credit repair help in the future, but be wary of downloading something just because it’s free. Before installing anything, do a little online research to see if anyone has had problems with the software. As many identity fraud victims can tell you, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

5. Shopping online without checking to see if you’re secure. Before you buy anything online, make sure the URL starts with “https”, which offers much more security than “http”.

It’s also a good idea to frequently check your credit report – just in case. If you find something unusual, find an expert and get credit restoration help immediately. The longer you ignore it, the worse it will be later on.

Never Say Never! Protect Yourself & Your Credit From Identity Fraud

fraud

Where Identity fraud is a unlawful change of identity. It indicates illegal activities that use the identity of another person as a target of a crime. Lets make this clear that identity fraud can occur without identity theft.

Identity theft wont just ruin your day, it will take over your life! Trying to get your life back will not be a short process and the more you delay on correcting ID theft the more money you will be responsible for. This is a not-so-fun fact: The average time spent by victims resolving the problem is about 330 hours. Also that 15% of victims find out about the theft through proactive action taken by a business. There are many different kinds of identity theft types:

  • business/commercial identity theft (using another’s business name to obtain credit)
  • criminal identity theft (posing as another when apprehended for a crime)
  • financial identity theft (using another’s identity to obtain goods and services)
  • identity cloning (using another’s information to assume his or her identity in daily life)
  • medical identity theft (using another’s information to obtain medical care or drugs)

My goal is not to scare you but to make you aware of what is out there. If you ever see anything out of the ordinary ie. card you did not apply for etc., these are the following steps that should be taken:

1. Remember if you find out that your identity has been stolen remember to collect and keep a record of mail, phone calls, letters, dates and times. This is the only evidence that you will have to prove your case.

2. The next step is to contact one of the three big credit reporting agencies (listed below), they in turn will contact other two. If your bank account has been penetrated, then close your account immediately and contact a bank representative.

3. Notify your employer and cancel all direct deposit payments to your account. So not to loose any more money and also you may need it if your accounts are frozen. The initial phone call to close out the accounts will only get the process started, institutions want to see the evidence before totally closing out any bank or card.

4. Remember cover your back and make sure to send your information certified mail, so you have proof that they received it, as we know this companies can easily lose important documentation. This is were it can get tricky, first file a police report, so you can prove to creditors that there was a crime.

5. Then file a identity theft complaint form with the Federal Trade Commission so you can understand how you can, “deter, detect, and defend against identity theft”. Which will guarantee that credit agencies are not able to release your information with out your consent.

These steps will get started! If this seems like a lot it is, I am talking form experience. If you’ve suffered from identity theft and ruined your credit, call us for credit repair help.

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