You may also be wondering – how is credit monitoring different from identity theft protection?
- Credit monitoring is one aspect of identity theft protection and only monitors changes to credit reports. Identity Theft Protection monitors personal information in public records, black market websites, and people search sites.
- Another important difference is that credit monitoring is reactive – it only alerts you after fraudulent activity appears on your credit report which can be 30 days or more after the activity. However, identity theft protection can alert you when a new application is being submitted such as for a car loan, new mobile account, or home mortgage.
What Is Identity Theft?
Most people have heard the term identity theft at some point but you may not know what it actually means Identity theft is when someone steals identifying information to either commit a crime or for financial gain For example, they will often steal social security numbers and start opening accounts in someone else’s name With this information they can open new accounts, get credit cards or access your bank accounts The most obvious consequences are losing the money in those accounts or getting fraudulent bills But identity theft can also seriously affect your credit score
Are Your Online Passwords Protecting Your ID?
If specific information like your login or password details fall into the hands of fraudsters, your online identity could be seriously compromised. Yes that’s right Darren, Brits have on average 19 online account each, and seven different passwords for these accounts – but over one in 10 of us never change our password at all, and one in 20 of us use the same password for all of our online accounts. Some of these may be inactive but fraudsters could still access them nonetheless.
So What Should We Do?
- Think how much information you share on the web and social media. It’s not only age, or date of birth, but maiden name or pet’s names that can be used by fraudsters to replicate your PINs and passwords.
- Also remember to shred any paper, financial documentation, as it may contain your personal details.
- What are the ideal kinds of passwords? Simple things like mixing lower and uppercase letters, symbols and numbers can help to protect your passwords and also stronger passwords tend to be longer passwords, typically 10 to 12 characters and if you want extra security you can also use two-factor authentication and of course always make sure you log out of online services when you finish using them. So Jayne, what can I do if I feel that my ID may have been compromised?
- Well if you think you’ve become a victim of fraud, the first thing you should do is notify the police, also contact your bank and then check your credit report.