5 Things An Enhanced Identity Theft Protection Service Should Have
The astonishing increase in identity theft cases as of late has alarmed consumers, business owners and even the U.S government. Notably, the fraudulent crimes caused by identity theft are reported as the leading consumer complaint by Americans for the past 13 years.
For more than a decade, this issue has plagued citizens and have caused so much distress among its victims. The numbers reported by an independent US agency says it all. Complaints found last year reached more than 2 million complaints overall, while 369,132 or 18% of that number were related to identity theft. In addition to identity theft cases, more than 43% were related to tax- or wage-related fraud.
Individuals are becoming less secure and more wary of this grievous matter. Imagine the trouble that this entails if not detected on time. Consider the damages that will take place to your credit report if hundreds to thousands of dollars are charged using your credit details. Also, the out of pocket costs just to rectify a crime done by a faceless stranger. More so, think of the amount of time that you’ll need to find a solution to this catastrophe.
Let us dissect the matter further. Being aware of the offense makes us understand the serious damages that it can cause. Properly understanding the cause will in turn help us discern proper prevention. To recognize how large and infectious this prevailing crime has become, it is best to see the statistics. In the same report mentioned above, it was stated that government documents or benefits fraud was the most common form of reported identity theft. A whopping 46% took up the total number reported in 2012. An example of such would be tax refund fraud that has been the IRS’ major concern every tax filing season.
This is followed by credit card fraud which takes up 13% of the total number reported. Utilities fraud is at 10%, which involves accounts fraudulently opened with service providers. Bank fraud followed closely at 6%, while other pressing categories of identity theft reported were employment-related fraud at 5% and loan fraud at 2%.
Because of this, consumers are now amplifying the prevention and protection that they employ upon themselves. Regular credit checks or monitoring seems to be helping for those who use it but that’s part of the problem many do not.
Best credit security practices are being supplemented by enhanced identity theft protection. Consumers who know better believe that identity theft protection is something that they shouldn’t scrimp on. Those who have been victims of fraud due to identity theft also know this. The money which will be spent correcting such crimes will cost more eventually. And so as they say, in health “Prevention is better than cure”. Some of the top financial experts expressed, this significant line is something that we can apply to our credit concerns as well.
We move on to looking at the practical protection options that we have available in the market. By evaluating our choices, we efficiently gauge what will be most effective for us. Credit monitoring is being offered by various private financial institutes and by the credit reporting agencies that we mentioned earlier. They present products that increase security and protection for consumer’s credit that always seem to be at risk these days. It is best that we consider a number of important components that an enhanced identity protection program should have.
Enhanced identity theft protection services should include these vital items to maximize credit preservation and security:
This covers fraud monitoring and alerts. Your program should have these included in their service as this is considered paramount in detecting fraud and identity theft. To be alerted on time helps consumers avert further damage to their credit.
- Resolution and Assistance
Some protection programs cover up to $1,000,000.00 in Insurance and that is a big help if one falls prey to a credit scam caused by identity theft. When we become victims of a horrible incident like this, it does not help to dwell on the issue with negativity. It should be automatic that we work on recovering what we have lost and how we can correct the problem. If we are covered by an assistance or protection as such, resolution and moving on will be much easier.
- Help & Support
This covers support and assistance available through several mediums. Is the enhanced identity theft protection program’s line of support accessible and can be easily reached? Do they offer 24/7 phone or online support? Do they have a website that gives consumers helpful facts and information regarding various identity theft issues and occurrences? Do they send out newsletters and post helpful blogs to its subscribers?
- Information Shield
There is a long list of invaluable personal data that felons can use to commit financial fraud. Identity theft crimes begin with information that becomes accessible to criminals who are skilful in these unlawful matters. An exhaustive list of personal data that you must secure at all times are as follows:
- Social Security
- Bank Account Information (This includes credit and debit card details)
- Loan/Lease Information
- Driver’s License
- Public Records (This includes State and Health records)
- Full Name
- Contact Numbers
- Email Address
- Employment Information
- Criminal Records
- Insurance Records
- Vehicle Registration and License Plates
- Government Records
- Additional Features
This covers Mail List Removal, Family Coverage, Credit History Reports and Credit Monitoring
Enhanced identity theft protection programs vary and we may not have all these factors covered. But to know what your options are can be very helpful. Identity theft is on the rise. To help deter this crime by practicing diligence is a simple yet major contribution that one consumer can make. Lastly, taking this step to boost credit protection will not benefit anyone else except yourself.
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