The public has become more and more aware of using safe practices to protect themselves from identity theft. People are opting out of credit cards offers, shredding mail, carefully screening e-mails and using anti-spyware and keylogger programs. These practices help people avoid having their personal information stolen from their mail box or on-line, but what happens if your laptop itself is stolen? What happens then? And what if it is from a business, organization or government agency? How do we protect the information on our laptops?
Veteran’s are at high risk for identity theft, and have more to lose. It is important for veteran’s to carefully monitor their credit report, social security benefits and veterans benefit information to determine if their identity is being used in any manner, from illegally obtaining credit or medical care to attending a college.
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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.
Children are the perfect targets for identity theft, as it may go undiscovered for years. Most often this crime is committed by a friend or family member, but more and more often it is a result of online information.
Read more to discover how your child’s identity may be stolen and what you can do to prevent it.
When you become a victim of Identity Theft, there are two basic paths you can choose to take. Work hard to try and restore your identity yourself, or have a company that does actual restoration take over the Identity theft restoration for you.
I have talked before about the only solution I feel is a viable solution for having someone else do it for you, and why, I think, you should have someone else do it for you.
When you become a victim of Identity Theft, it’s like having your vehicle break down in the middle of the highway.
|Do it yourself
You can probably hook up a tow rope
Try to listen in and diagnose
Spend time and money learning how fix cars and working to fix what went wrong
Call the tow truck
Take it to a trained professional who has the ability to test with
Pay a trained expert to spend the time and money working to fix what went wrong.
Some people like to fix their own cars. Me? Unless it’s a little issue, I would much rather take it to someone else and let them fix my car.
Same goes with my identity.
My bias is clearly toward having someone else fix it for you. Even with as much as I know about Identity Theft, (especially with as much as I know about Identity Theft) I still make sure that I have a plan to have an attorney and a restoration specialist when I’m going through the process of restoring my name.
The Federal Trade Commission offers some good tips in the deter section of this video below. Even though I’ve never seen any conclusive studies that show shredding your documents will prevent Identity Theft, it’s still just a good idea.
The Federal Trade Commission is now into the full swing of their deter, detect, and defend program. The FTC’s bias seems to lean toward having people restore their own identities.
If you’re in that camp, then the Windows Media video below, from the Federal Trade Commission, explains some good ideas if you want to try to restore your own identity.
Visit the FTC online at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft
Or take a look at what I feel is the real problem of losing your information and the real solution to Identity Theft for individuals.