Am I at risk for identity theft?
Attention US Residents: Personal data, including social security numbers and residential addresses of over 100 million consumers has been stolen this year in the United States alone. Scammers trade information through black markets to use in future identity theft operations.
The criminals use your identity in order to obtain credit cards, fake mortgages, loans, and cash advances. Once an identity theft occurs, it is a very difficult task to undo the damage. It often costs upwards of $10,000 in legal fees just to clean up the mess created by these criminals.
We strongly recommend that you follow these steps to prevent identity theft:
1. Please consider obtaining identity theft protection services. We highly recommend using the LifeLock. They provide protection against identity theft for less than $9 per month. Click Here to start your protection.
2. To understand the general precautionary measures to keep your identity safe, please read the following article: www.scamguard.com/identity-theft/
How do hackers gain access to my information?
1. Fake loan applications
Hackers can easily gain access to your bank account and social security numbers by attracting you to apply for a fake loan. These websites appear professional, authentic and promise low-rate loans to US residents. Hackers have even been known to purchase your personal information from legitimate marketing firms that operate loan application services. In reality, the loan does not exist and your information becomes at risk for future identity theft.
2. By hacking online stores
Major stores like Target and Home Depot, as well as banks including Chase, were all victims of major hacks. Reports state that over 150 million personal information files had been compromised last year alone. One out of every two US consumer's personal information now lies in the hands of hackers.
3. Phishing email scams
One classic scam involves hackers posing as representatives from legal institutions or banks by sending fraudulent emails to unsuspecting consumers. These official-looking messages claim that the account has been compromised and needs additional verification before access can be re-established. Hackers will direct you to an identical looking fraudulent website, and require you to enter information such as your login, password, and social security number. Once completed, you will be notified that your access has been re-established. Sadly, the process has been a complete scam and hackers now possess your personal information to use in identity theft.
Where does my personal information go?
1. Hackers may use your personal information for identity theft in several ways. First, scammers may sell and even re-sell your personal information on black markets operating on an invitation-only basis.
3. Hackers may use your information to apply for loans and credit cards, leaving you with the staggering bill and a completely destroyed credit score.
3. Hackers may use your information to create fake identities by applying for a state ID or drivers license in your name.
When can I expect identity theft to occur?
It's difficult to determine when your information will be used in identity theft. Hackers possess a large amount of US resident's personal information, so identity theft could happen as soon as tomorrow, or years from the day your personal data has been compromised.
How can I undo damages caused by identity theft?
It may be necessary to hire a knowledgeable attorney to undo identity theft damages. The process could take six months to a year and cost upwards of $10,000 in legal fees.
How can I prevent identity theft before it occurs?
Sign up for identity theft protection service today. LifeLock is a popular and effective company dedicated to fighting identity theft. You can start your protection here.
5 Signs your identity has been stolen Find out here.