As our firm found out the hard way, identity theft is not something that happens only to large corporations. Going through this process has taught us a lot more than we ever wanted to know about the types of identity theft that are happening and how exposed all of us are.
Fortunately or unfortunately, our society has become a process of convenience. With this convenience comes the opportunity for thieves to take advantage of us. Whether it is skimming credit card numbers at gas pumps or filing false tax returns, our identities are being compromised.
How do we stop it? Bottom line: we can’t. But we can be diligent about watching our financial transactions to ensure that we are not victims of fraud.
There are various credit protection services that monitor and alert you to any new accounts being opened in your name. The one we see advertised everywhere is LifeLock, which charges a monthly fee. There are others I have listed below that will offer the service free for a period of time, or you can sign up for a longer term at a monthly cost.
- www.alerts.equifax.com 1-888-766-0008
- www.experian.com 1-888-397-3742
- www.transunion.com 1-800-680-7289
Remember, these services only monitor new accounts being opened in your name. If someone steals your credit card or bank information from existing accounts, the monitoring service may not catch it. We strongly encourage you to monitor all of your accounts on a regular basis to ensure no one is making unauthorized charges.