When it comes to protecting your credit cards, companies are going to great extremes in recent times. Gone are the days where you simply got a phone call when you spent a great deal of money and when your bill is past due. Now, credit card companies are paying close attention to your account in real time. This is called credit card pattern recognition and it has been around for longer than you might think.
If you use credit cards often, you probably have gotten those odd phone calls or emails about your recent spending habits. Perhaps your credit card company noticed an odd spending pattern, or your first purchase on vacation in Tahiti. Any type of purchase that is unusual in the eyes of the credit card company can come under suspicion.
This is being used more and more as the criminals become more advanced. While the added security is a wonderful thing when it works, it can be a bit of a pain in the tail at other times. Imagine you are on vacation and you go out to supper for the first time. Imagine that you whip out your credit card and it gets declined for no good reason. This usually leads to an awkward conversation with the waiter and a long phone with the credit card company call to straighten out the fact that you are on vacation. That is not always so fun.
So, the obvious question is…are the security measures worth it in the long run? Continue reading Is Pattern Recognition a Fair Way to Monitor Your Credit Cards?
Have you ever received a letter in the mail from a store, service or bank that warned you that their security measures had been breached but they are sure that your information remained safe and secure? Did you take their word for it? Or maybe you did a cursory search of your credit or debit card statement immediately after receiving it just to make sure there were no unnecessary chargers. Checking for charges is good, but setting up a credit fraud alert may be even better, if not safer.
What is a credit fraud alert? A credit fraud alert can be set initially for 90 days. By providing a telephone number, during that time whenever someone tries to open a new account in your name or extend the credit limit to existing accounts you will be contacted. Don’t worry though, because you can put a code on the account which will lift the alert for legitimate requests that you, a business or a bank is making on your behalf. Extended alerts as well as alerts specifically designed for active duty military.
Extended alerts are recommended in the event that you have been a victim of identity theft or fraud. Those may last up to 7 years. You may also request an additional free credit report when placing an alert on your credit, with access to one free for the 90 alerts and two free available to you for the extended alerts.
Although they are crafted to last for 90 days to 7 years, you can modify or lift your alert prior to the scheduled end date.
Once your receive your credit reports be sure to look for:
- accounts you did not apply for or open
- information about current accounts that is incorrect (such as change of address or balance)
- unexplained outstanding balances, and;
- incorrect factual information such as your Social Security Number, names, address or employer.
You can place a credit fraud alert on your credit report by Continue reading When, where, why and how: Credit fraud alerts
I recently conducted an interview with Scott Mitic, CEO and co-founder of TrustedID, a company promoting a new kind of service in proactive identity protection.
You can listen to the audio below. I had some real challenges with the audio code on this interview, so if it’s hard to understand, I’ve posted the transcript below as well.
Identity Theft Secrets: This is Jonathan Kraft with Identity Theft Secrets and I am here today interviewing Scott Mitic, who is the CEO and co-founder of TrustedID. How are you doing today Scott?
TrustedID: I’m great thanks Jonathan, how are you?
Identity Theft Secrets: I’m doing great! Thank you very much for taking a few minutes with us today. Well, let’s just get started right into this. Can you review for me, the background behind TrustedID? What started it, who started it and why was TrustedID started?
TrustedID: Well I started the company about three years ago with a co-founder and it jettisoned into a business in finding ways for consumers to be able to proactively prevent Identity Theft. I had a wife who was victimized twice in the course of about three years and while looking at the experience she had, I realized there was really no effective solution available to anyone in the U.S. to help stop identity theft before it starts. And that’s what started TrustedID.
Identity Theft Secrets: And I know you’ve got a partner in the business as well.
TrustedID: I do; I co-founded the company with Omar Ahmad, who’s also on our board now.
Identity Theft Secrets: Talk a little bit more about, you said your wife actually was a victim twice, can you explain kind of what happened with her identity theft and how that took place?
TrustedID: Well, the first time was someone in the state of Florida who assumed her identity; committed crimes in her name and also got credit in her name. Someone printed checks using my wife’s name and her account number and passed bad checks. So as is the case very often with identity theft, the financial loss that we incurred, that she incurred, not nearly as significant as the time loss that was incurred. Everything from standing at the police station waiting for an officer to show up to take your report down to trying to track down what credit was opened in her name and then finding a way to convince the lender, or creditor, that that was actually not her debt, but that of a felon that she had never met.
Identity Theft Secrets: Which I imagine that process is very difficult. I know from having talked with a bunch of people; they’ve had some real challenges trying to prove that they’re not themselves.
TrustedID: Exactly. And I think that’s only going to intensify over the course of the coming months or years; as the credit crunch comes upon us, there are more and more people looking for perhaps easy ways to get out of their debt. You can understand a lender being somewhat skeptical when a customer calls and says, “you know what? That’s really not me;” when you’ve got that card. So it’s a natural reaction of that same lender to think twice and to require a little extra proof before they accept it’s the work of an identity thief.
Identity Theft Secrets: And you said before that you didn’t really see anything after looking for ways to help your wife. You didn’t really see anything in the market that was there to proactively prevent identity theft and I think that’s part of the reason you started TrustedID. What does proactive identity theft prevention mean and how do you do that?
Continue reading Trusted ID Interview and Promotional Code Coupon
This is the second in a two part series about mortgage fraud, how it occurs, the damage it causes and what you can do to protect yourself. Read on for more information on how you can stop mortgage fraud through identity theft and what to do if you have been a victim.
Continue reading Are You a Victim of Mortgage Fraud? Here is What You Can Do
TrustedID is a credit monitoring service that does online and TV/Radio promotions around their guarantee to provide one million dollars of identity theft insurance, the ability to limit who sees your credit report, review who has seen your credit report (i.e. is it being reviewed by people you trust), and it also gives you free search engine searches, to determine if your social security number has been compromised. If you would like to have these protections, you may want to take a look at TrustedID, which markets themselves as a different kind of consumer credit protection service.
TrustedID is one of many credit monitoring, identity theft protection companies available to consumers that is available independently and not through one of the three major credit reporting agencies of TransUnion, Experian, or Equifax. It is located in Redwood City, CA and you may visit their website or call 1.888.548.7878 for additional information regarding their company.
TrustedID’s credit monitoring service has been featured in such publications as Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. Its services have also been featured online at CNNMoney.com and CNBC. It is recognized by the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Continue reading Do You Have “TrustedID” Service? TrustedID Review And Promo Code
Equifax Inc. is most often recognized as being one of the top three consumer credit reporting agencies, including Experian and TransUnion.
Equifax was founded in 1899 as Retail Credit Company and is the oldest of the three agencies. By 1920 it had offices in the United States and Canada and by the 1960’s protected millions of credit histories. It has now been in business for 107 years providing consumer and business services. In 1975 it changed its name to Equifax. It is traded on the New York Stock Exchange as EFX, and is a Standard and Poor’s (S&P) 500 company. Although its corporate headquarters is Atlanta, Georgia, it employs 4,600 people worldwide in 13 countries and reports $1.4 billion in revenue.
During the 1960’s and 1970’s, Equifax came under criticism for the extensive nature of information that it was obtaining about consumers. This included information about an individual and other private parts of a person’s life like marital status, employment, sex life and political affiliation. Much of the criticism was due to not only the extensive nature of the information, but the methods by which it was obtained, and their willingness to “sell” the information.
Continue reading Equifax: What You Should Know About Equifax And 3-in-1 Credit Monitoring Services
What is Identity Theft Insurance? What does it cover? How can I get it? Do I need it? And how much does it cost?
Your questions regarding identity theft insurance are answered in this post.
Continue reading Identity Theft Insurance: What is It? and Do YOU Need It?
As you periodically review your credit report, whether it be monthly or yearly, you may come across simple errors in information or incorrect reports of credit that you may have received. There are two ways to correct or “dispute” this information. One is online and the other in writing.
Read more for the step by step process, contact information and process on credit report disputes
Continue reading How to Dispute Your Credit Report Information
Credit monitoring can be one of the easiest, most efficient and cost effective manners for preventing and detecing mistakes on your credit report.
Read more to learn to learn how easy it is to monitor your credit and how monitoring my credit enabled me to quickly detect credit blemishes and unauthorized use of my credit information– as well as how the monitoring system helped me to make corrections to my credit report.
Continue reading What You Need to Know about Credit Monitoring