Avoid COVID Scams and Identity Theft

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Avoid COVID Scams and Identity Theft

It seems like crisis either brings out the best in people… or it brings out the worst. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in scams and identity theft that play on people’s fears about COVID and our new environment and guidelines.

The good news is that many of these scams have the same warning signs that other identity crimes have, so you can watch for these red flags and avoid becoming a victim.

What are some of the most common scams today, and how can you identify them? Let’s take a look.

Threatening You with Jail, a Large Fine, or Criminal Charges

The biggest scam indicator? Someone trying to scare you into revealing information by saying that you are facing jail time, a significant fine, or other legal action. 

Real police do not demand personal information in return for not arresting you.

There are no laws requiring you to share information about your health or vaccine status over the phone or internet, so don’t fall for it!

A Request for a Photo of Your Vaccine Card

Your vaccine card has a lot of personal information on it, and scammers are using this data to steal your identity. Your name, birthdate, address, and other information is available on this card, so you don’t want to post it anywhere online.

You should also ignore any requests to take a photo of your vaccine card and send it to someone. No legitimate business or government agency will request this information.

Remember, any threats of legal action are fake. The authorities do not threaten legal action over the phone.

Offering COVID Testing in Return for Personal Information

If you receive a phone call or email offering you COVID testing or other COVID services in return for personal information, do not respond. Unfortunately, these scammers are targeting Medicare beneficiaries and then using your Medicare information to commit medical identity theft.

If you make an appointment for COVID testing or vaccination online, be sure you are directly accessing the approved testing site’s website. Ignore social media ads and go directly to the pharmacy or provider’s website instead. 

If you receive a call that claims to be from a doctor’s office, thank them for their time and tell the caller that you will call the doctor’s office directly. That way you know for sure that you’re talking to a legitimate person and not a scammer.

An Offer of Government Money

The stimulus checks that the government issued during COVID-19 helped many people make ends meet. Unfortunately, scammers saw this as an opportunity to commit identity theft and steal information from unsuspecting consumers.

If you receive a call that claims to be from the IRS or another government agency asking for your personal information in return for government assistance, do not give the information out. These are scammers.

Keep in mind that as of March of 2022, there is no new stimulus money coming. If things change, any payment will be processed the same as previous checks. You do not need to give out personal information over the phone or online to get your payment.

Stay Safe from Identity Theft

Anytime someone asks you for personal information over the phone or online, you should immediately end the conversation. No government agency or doctor’s office works that way. If you have any concerns, you can always hang up and call the official phone number for that organization to double-check.

Don’t let the fear of COVID scare you into becoming an identity theft victim. And if you’d like more help protecting your identity, contact us today!

Why You Need the Best Identity Theft Protection

best identity theft protection

Why You Need the Best Identity Theft Protection

best identity theft protectionThe last two years have been incredibly crazy for most Americans and a lot has changed. We’ve definitely entered into a “new normal” that involves a lot more remote work, video meetings, and education happening over the internet.

As a result, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have the best identity theft protection. Thieves stole the identity of 13 million U.S. consumers in 2019, and that number has continued to climb each year since.

Let’s take a look at three reasons you need high-quality identity protection today.

Remote Working and Learning Put You at Risk

It’s no secret that home networks are less secure than corporate or school networks. At home we don’t have IT professionals available to ensure that we’re using security best practices or have the latest updates installed for every software program.

Most of the time, we don’t take the same precautions that companies do, which means that our identity and personal information is at risk. For example, if you’re at a coffee shop paying bills or logging into your bank account, you’re likely to be targeted by identity theft.

When you have high-quality identity theft protection you can rest easy that you will find out quickly if your personal information has been compromised. (Of course, that isn’t an excuse not to take appropriate security measures with your home network and public WiFi!)

Identity Theft Protection Gives You Quick Notice of a Breach

One of the significant dangers of identity theft is that a lot of damage can be done before you find out that there’s a problem. Hackers can take your personal information and sell it to someone who opens credit accounts in your name with a different address or PO Box, using your credit for months or even years before you discover the activity.

The longer it takes you to find out about identity theft, the more money you lose and the harder it is to correct the problem. With the best identity theft protection, you will receive immediate alerts if something changes with a credit bureau, if your information is found on the dark web, or new accounts are opened in your name.

The Best Protection Plans Offer Financial Coverage

It’s great to find out quickly about a breach in your data, but it still costs money to clean up the mess. The best identity theft protection will offer financial coverage to give you additional peace of mind.

For example, SecurePreferred from IdentityIQ includes $1,000,000 of coverage for the primary member if there are out-of-pocket expenses due to identity theft. That extra coverage can mean a lot when it comes to addressing a case of ID theft.

Get the Best Identity Theft Protection Today

Identity theft isn’t something to take lightly, and thieves have more opportunities than ever now that more people are working and attending school remotely. If your identity falls into the wrong hands, how will you know? What will you do to fix it?

Answer those questions by getting the best identity theft protection today. Gain peace of mind as we all adjust to this new, remote-focused world!

 

Identity Theft Protection for Your Children

Identity Theft Protection for Your Children

Identity Theft Protection for Your Children

Identity Theft Protection for Your ChildrenAs a parent of children on the internet, our first instinct is to protect them and make sure they understand to never give out their name or other personal information to anyone. But, just like in the case of an airplane emergency, the parent actually needs to protect themselves first in order to best protect their children second. This also applies in the case of identity theft protection.

The truth is, with more kids currently being educated through the internet, both adults and children are extra vulnerable to having their identities stolen. More than 1 million children in the U.S. were identity theft victims, resulting in losses of $2.67 billion, according to a child identity fraud study by Javelin Strategy & Research.

No one is too young to be targeted, with two-thirds of the victims under the age of eight. Another 20 percent are eight to 12 years old. It’s important to make sure your identity is protected from criminals and then extend that protection to your children and other family members, so your lives aren’t turned upside down because of identity theft.

Why are children’s identities stolen?

Criminals gravitate towards children’s identities because they know they are less likely to spend their time monitoring their own online activity. Kids are online to communicate with their friends, not check their bank account balance. Criminals can use you or your child’s stolen Social Security number (SSN) and other personal information to open new credit cards and other credit lines, make fraudulent purchases, change your billing address and even obtain a driver’s license in you or your child’s name.

The longer the activity goes undetected, the more is stolen. This criminal activity can negatively affect you and your children’s lives for years. Sometimes the theft isn’t detected until a child turns 18 and wants to begin establishing their own credit.

Keeping everyone’s identity safe

Only share your child’s or your SSN and other identifying information with trustworthy organizations for official purposes, such as school registration. Make sure your child understands to never give out this number or any other personal information such as their address or phone number to anyone. Whenever you do submit personal information, ask how the organization will protect it.

Also inform your kids not to click on links or pop-up advertisements while they are on their phones or doing their homework. Sometimes malware is automatically downloaded onto devices just by clicking on links. Same is true for links inside an email. If you receive a call requesting personal information about you or your child, don’t immediately assume it’s legitimate, assume it’s fraudulent instead. Hang up and call the organization back if you think it is an official phone number. A live person that can identify themselves will answer if it is legitimate.

Shred or burn any documents with you or your child’s personal information before you throw them away or put them in the recycling bin outside.

Monitoring your identity and credit is essential to protecting your family. A credit and identity protection service can help provide you with alerts when your SSN is used, so you can act quickly if your personal information is at risk. In certain plans, you can add your children for family protection.

Whether you’ve already been a victim of identity theft or you want to be proactive about staying safe from fraud, you should always keep updated on your credit activity through the use of the most powerful software available. Remember. The best program does the work for you, so you don’t have to worry or give it a second thought. For more information, visit https://identitytheftprotection123.com/.

Stop Fraud: Gain Peace of Mind Through Identity Protection

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Stop Fraud: Gain Peace of Mind Through Identity Protection

identity-protectionDid you know that consumers lost $56 billion to identity fraud in 2020? Identity theft affected 15% of Americans in 2020 alone. That’s why identity protection is essential in today’s internet age.

There are dozens of ways for people to steal your identity, and a lot of it happens online. Even when you’re very careful with your personal information, it can still happen. 

Identity theft protection can go a long way toward helping you gain peace of mind and avoid fraudulent activity. Here’s why you should enroll in identity protection today.

Being Careful Isn’t Enough

A lot of consumers understand that they need to be very careful with their personal information. They set excellent passwords, don’t share information unnecessarily, and avoid storing credit card information on their internet browser or in their phones.

Unfortunately, as careful as you are, other people who have your data may still be careless. Perhaps a retailer doesn’t protect your payment information and it falls into the wrong hands. Hackers also target businesses that use personal information and steal the data, often selling it to thieves.

Identity protection allows you to know that even if your best efforts don’t work, you’re protected and have help getting back on track.

Thieves Love Personal Information

Why would someone steal your information, and what do they plan to do with it? Many of us think that there’s not much special about us, and can’t understand why someone would want to use our data.

The truth is that thieves can use your personal information for a variety of purposes. The two primary goals are to steal money and to conduct an activity without having it traced back to them. For example, they might buy a phone in your name and use it for criminal enterprise. They might make fraudulent purchases. They can open utility accounts in your name using fake addresses.

It’s scary, but you don’t have to lose sleep over their bad intentions. With identity protection, you can be alerted when there are changes to your credit report, new applications in your name, and more. If anything goes wrong, you’ll know right away.

Protect Yourself from Financial Loss

When someone steals your identity, it can cost you a lot of money. Without monitoring, by the time you notice something has happened a lot of financial damage has already been done.

Identity protection helps you catch issues early so you don’t suffer significant financial loss. In addition, the best plans have insurance so that you can cover your out-of-pocket expenses due to identity theft. These two benefits can save you thousands of dollars!

Get Started with Identity Protection Now!

Thieves and hackers are looking for personal information they can profit from every day. You can’t afford to wait when it comes to protecting your identity. The sooner you take action, the less access criminals will have to your future.

Get the alerts and peace of mind you deserve as you live your daily life in today’s connected society. We’re here to help. Contact us today!

 

Don’t Be a Victim of Tax Identity Theft

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Don’t Be a Victim of Tax Identity Theft

identity-theftEvery year, tax season presents a seasonal opportunity for criminals seeking monetary gain from identity theft. There are many ways that cyber criminals may try to obtain personal information, but the end goal is to file a falsified tax return in the taxpayer’s name and claim a tax refund. The scheme may not be discovered until the taxpayer attempts to file a legitimate tax return, by which time the criminal has moved on.

Clearing up issues related to identity theft and fraudulent tax returns can be messy and significantly delay any tax refund you may be owed. It pays to protect your identity now. Here’s how to help avoid tax identity theft in the year to come.

Be first to file your taxes

By now, you should have already filed for your 2021 taxes unless you filed for an extension for an October 15, 2021 deadline. Regardless of when you filed, one thing is for certain. There will always be taxes and preparing now for 2022 will only work in your favor. 

Once you’ve filed your tax return to the IRS with your Social Security number (SSN), criminals will be unable to file under your name, which is why it’s important to file quickly. The earlier you file your tax return, the less time criminals will have to file a fraudulent return in your name.

To avoid delays in processing, the IRS has recommended against filing paper returns whenever possible, and to request for a direct deposit of your refund into your bank.

Be aware of scare tactics

If you receive any unexpected communications claiming to be from the IRS either by phone or mail, or other official organization, don’t assume they are real. Criminals impersonate legitimate organizations request information including your name, birth date, address, employer and SSN. Don’t open any unsolicited email attachments, click any links or provide any information without verifying the source.

If you want to verify that the IRS has officially contacted you, you can contact them directly by calling 800-829-1040. To report an email scam, you can forward the email to phishing@irs.gov.

For criminals impersonating the IRS by phone, you can report the call at www.tigta.gov.

Protect your identity

Take steps to protect your data, including your SSN and other personally identifiable information by using an identity theft protection software program. Keep paper records in a secure place and dispose of them permanently when you no longer need them. If you keep records on your computer or in the cloud, make sure they are password protected and change your passwords frequently.

If you need to send documents to a tax preparer, send them securely. Before hiring a tax preparer, do your research and ask what type of secure measures they take to protect client information.