Survive identity theft

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Solution

Increasing the odds to survive identity theft

 The description of  "identity theft" can be found under "Why be prepared"

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Prelude

  Personal identity can be taken in a multiple of ways. Criminals who seek to take or assume the identity of another accomplish their tasks by stealing information from anywhere such as garbage cans, dumpsters as well as mail boxes and outgoing mail piles ready for postal pickup. It does not take a phenomenal amount of information to assume or create a fictitious identity in the name of another, (victim). Much of the information required to create a fictitious identity can be found on credit card bills or other financial statements, pre-approved letters and official documents of sorts. Identity can be stolen from personal computers or by the use of a computer by way of HACKING. Most people keep a great deal of personal information stored or recorded on a computer and phones. With such information a criminal can apply for a change of address and create a new identity in the name of another. Smart vehicles with remote and computerized access control are also subject to being hacked with the intent to gain access to the valuables inside. Most vehicles are known to contain useful data applicable for replicating identity.  As we advance in technology we also present more opportunities for identity theft to occur. The aim is to keep our information safe from malicious use. Awareness and preventative measures are advantageous to adopt as normal behavior.

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The following information has been provided to assist those who seek solutions to prevent and survive the consequences associated with "identity theft".

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Preventative measures:

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1.  Don't give out your social security number. Question anyone who asks for it and get all that you can on anyone in representation of the company or organization requiring it. If giving out your social security number can not be avoided it is best to have a trail of names to follow if you suspect your identity has been taken. Keeping tabs on those who have your vital information is advantageous and may provide more confidence when giving up that vital information.

[ Avoid giving Social Security numbers at these places! ]

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2.  Try not to carry passwords and secret codes with you. In a perfect world we can remember all of our passwords but it is not too likely. The fact is that many people make a practice out of carrying their passwords in their wallets, purses or on a phone or other mobile device. Be advised that this is a bad practice and makes you susceptible to identity theft and fraud.

[ How to Create a Secure Password ]

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3.  When using an ATM machine or other keypad used for entering passwords be sure that no person is within view while entering your secret codes. This is another way that people take your codes and passwords discreetly. Be aware of mini cameras mounted in view of those key pads as well. Some cameras are very very tiny and can be disguised as a bug.

[ Insects become fly-on-the-wall spies with tiny cameras, radio controls and microphones ]

Don't forget about those drones with cameras. Many are nearly silent and can be equipped with tiny cameras with incredible zoom capabilities.

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4.  Financial transactions can be traced, followed and disputed when certain types of cards are involved. There are essentially four types of cards used to pay for goods and services. ATM, debit, credit and what is called virtual cards. Despite contrary belief the use of a credit card does offer a degree of recovery for lost funds but is not the card most advantageous for discouraging fraud.  The card with the least amount of risk is the virtual card, since it has a time or transaction limitation and there is no personal information connected with it.

[ Debit vs. Credit Card ID Theft ]

[ How to Trace a Credit Card Transaction for Fraud ]

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5.  Many people engage in online payment options to perform banking tasks as well as to participate in gaming, stocks, auctions and other forms of purchasing. Many such options are done through third party payment vendors, ... some of which may be questionable in their practices. It is important to know who your money is traveling through before it gets to the intended recipient. Here are a few third party payment options to research. [Sources] , [More sources]

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6.  Be aware of the potentials for check manipulation and account theft. Guard your checks as if they are your personal ID. Clever thieves have known to utilize checks to do very creative and destructive things with the information available.

[ 5 Ways to Avoid Being a Check-Fraud Victim ]

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7.  Be discreet in the work place. The work place is often a breeding ground for malicious activity. It is a place that provides an atmosphere where relationships can be nurtured for a plethora of outcomes. Guarding ones personal information and identity at work involves protecting your physical information, ... (purse, wallet, electronic devices etc.), as well as your personal conversations. Don't give yourself away to thieves at work. Be cautious of creating opportunities to have personal information exposed. Thieves come in all shapes, sizes and are cloaked in a deceptive demeanor.

[ Whose Job Is It to Keep Employee Records Private? ]

[ 10 tips on how to avoid ID theft at work ]

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8.  Be inquisitive and alert as to the validity and integrity of all websites to be visited. It only takes a few moments to apply a search engine to any site or business for the purpose of gaining site integrity and trust. Keep a skeptical approach to promotional giveaways, gifts and other free stuff designed to lure gullible individuals with money to spend. Don't be enticed to purchase what you don't want or need. Take in consideration that many geneses are behind the advertising. Protection from web based fraud and theft starts here.

[ Common Internet Fraud Schemes ]

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9.  Be advised that family members, friends and associates may not always be on the right side of integrity. Most identity theft occurs as a result of a misguided or malicious individual within our circle of contacts. Many such cases have been reported by parents who have been victimized by their children. Be sure to safe guard your information from anyone who does not belong in your financial transactions.  There is a time and a place for discretionary behavior and actions which includes parental lockouts etc. It is also advantageous to remind children about consequences associated with giving out information such as home address and phone numbers. There are not many prerequisites to creating a duplicate identity. Name and address are some what is used to initiate such identity crimes. We live in an era where kids seem to know more about the cyber world than their parents. Malicious teens can wreck havoc with a friends household if vital information is acquired with that intent. The fact is the younger generations are far better at navigating around and hacking systems with a superior level of manipulative computer skills than most people understand.

[ When Family and Friends Steal Your Identity ]

Guarding and monitoring our computer, ... especially from kids, ... is important so as to alleviate concerns associated with unauthorized financial transactions. Many teens have launched massive campaigns in purchasing online gaming and products once they had seen it done by a parent or guardian. Acquiring account information is easier than one would imagine and when coupled with a malicious demeanor can result in a repeat of the process until your accounts has been drained of all its resources, ... all in the name of fun.

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10.   This one may seem less likely to occur but does happen non the less. Keep your trash cans clear of personal information, ... which includes those in the dwelling as well the outside trash as mentioned earlier. There have been occasions when service mechanics, technicians and sales reps should not have been left alone in rooms where personal data might be stored or trashed. Be advised to always exercise cautionary behavior when visitors are in these areas of vulnerability.

[ Identity theft: Your trash, their treasure ]

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11.  Now days it is an advantage to utilize identity theft protection and monitoring services weather provided from your bank or third party services. It is typical and often an inconvenience for such a service to freeze an account when purchase behavior occurs with an account. This sort of account "freeze" can happen at the most inopportune times such as when on vacation but can save you weeks and months of grief due to the consequences of account theft and fraud.

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12.  A note on digital security measures. Though it may seem like a hassle, ... be sure to encrypt or make difficult your security codes and passwords. According to most web hosting companies many people are hacked as a result of having obvious pass words. Using key words and numbers which are relevant to you or your data places that information at risk.  Don't leave your computer vulnerable without a time out feature. Walking away from a loaded computer can be as bad as walking away from a loaded weapon. Here are some very common pass words used by those who get hacked.

[Source 1] , [Source 2] , [Source 3]

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13.  With technical advances comes additional risks for digital data theft. Coded key entry systems for homes and automobiles are susceptible to being hacked and cloned remotely. Skilled criminals need only to be near your locations to hijack your codes with devices that are designed to work as such. Once they have the codes gaining entry to your real records and data becomes easier. Be aware of your surroundings when using remote and key-less entry systems. Smart homes are not 100% safe from cyber attacks and are also subject to hacking. Be sure your system has heavy protection and is reputable.

[ 5 steps to keep your smart home from being hacked ]

[ Hackers take control of smart car via the internet ]

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Be advised that the cyber world is inundated with people who are highly skilled at breaking codes and pass words. Code crackers are out there and are often hired to perform tasks associated with hacking for various reasons.

Anatomy of a hack: How crackers ransack passwords ...
10 Most Popular Password Cracking Tools 
Email Hacking Services - Hackers For Hire
Hacker For Hire Online

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Identity Theft Protection Services Review

[Find it here]

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Recovering from identity theft

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What should I do if a thief uses my information?

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Step 1:  Place an initial fraud alert on your three credit reports

  Call any one of the three credit reporting companies.  That company must tell the other two. Fraud departments of the credit reporting companies are:

Equifax                       1-800-525-6285

Experian                    1-888-397-3742

Transunion               1-800-680-7289

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Step 2:  Order your credit reports

  Call all three credit reporting companies and order your credit report from each.  Identity theft victims can get the reports for free.

  You might know that some of your accounts are affected by identity theft.  Contact those accounts now.  Talk to someone in the fraud department of the company.  Then write the company a letter.

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Step 3Create an Identity Theft Report

  Submit a complaint to the FTC. You can call or do it online. By phone: Call 1-877-438-4338 (1-866-653-4261 TTY)

  Talk to a counselor. The counselor will ask questions to gather information about your complaint. Ask the counselor to email you a link so you can print your complaint. Your completed complaint is called theIdentity Theft Affidavit.

  Go online to save or print your Identity Theft Affidavit.

Online: Go to ftc.gov/complaint

  Type your information into the online form, following the prompts on every screen. Review all the information you typed. Click the button to submit your complaint. Your submitted complaint is called an “Identity Theft Affidavit”. Save the complaint reference number. Click the link to save the Identity Theft Affidavit to your computer. Print your Identity Theft Affidavit. Keep it in a safe place

  File a police report.  Take your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit with you. Get a copy of the police report or the number of the police report.

  Attach your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit to your police report. That is your Identity Theft Report. Keep it in a safe place.

[Source]

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[ House Stealing: When Identity Theft Leads to Mortgage Fraud ]

[ Guide for Assisting Identity Theft Victim ]

[ How to Fight Medical Identity Theft ]

[ Recovering from identity theft ]

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 Video references

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References:

http://wpengine.com/unmasked/

http://www.wikihow.com/Guess-a-Password

http://www.top10identitytheftprotection.com

https://www.teamsid.com/worst-passwords-of-2014/

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2455409,00.asp

http://www.ncpc.org/topics/fraud-and-identity-theft/tips-to-prevent-identity-theft

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/the-10-most-popular-online-payment-solutions/

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identity theft