When people hear the word “Identity Theft”, most immediately think of someone compromising their credit profile and opening a credit account in their name. This is a very common form of ID Theft, but did you know there are several other types of ID Theft that can do serious damage to your good name?
1. Driving Records Identity Theft. What would you do if someone assumed your identity and committed a motor vehicle crime in your name such as DWI, DUI, or (worse yet) vehicular manslaughter? It’s real and it is happening. Here is some helpful information from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse on how to address this. Your local motor vehicle department should also have information to help you.
2. Medical Records Identity Theft. What would you if someone assumed your identity when checking into a hospital and was diagnosed with a disease that then affected your ability to get insurance coverage? Even worse, what if you were prescribed the wrong medicine because of this? Here is some information on medical ID Theft from the World Privacy Forum.
3. Employment ID Theft. What would you do if someone got a job or earned money using your Social Security Number making you liable for taxes on money you never received? It is true that people can create “fake” Social Security cards, but also those who perform contract work can fill out a W-9 form with your Social Security Number and never have to present a copy of it for verification!
4. Character / Criminal ID Theft. What would you do if someone committed a crime in your name and all of a sudden you found yourself with a criminal record which affected your ability to work or caused you to lose your job? What if the police showed up at your home or office to arrest you for a crime you did not commit?
I don’t share these situations to scare you, but to help you become aware that we live in a very different world than we used to. Identity Theft os one of the fastest growing crimes in North America and with the state of the economy, it’s just getting worse.
Experts say that it can cost you hundreds of hours of your time to restore your good name or whatever form of your identity has been breached. The economic impact on an individual due to ID Theft is in the tens of thousands of dollars.
So what is one to do? I say get protected!
I have been a customer of Pre Paid Legal’s Life Events Legal plan and Identity Theft Shield for several years as has my family. On two separate occasions, family members have needed the Identity Theft Shield; once due to a theft and once due to a phishing scheme (an email scheme devised to obtain your personal information). I personally received a call from my bank a few years back saying that my business credit card information was found on a computer sized in Eastern Europe that was used by a group of computer hackers.
Identity Theft Shield is an amazing service in that is doesn’t just monitor your credit like many of the alleged ID Theft services do, but they have a full service ID Theft monitoring, recovery, and restoration program in the event that you are a victim of ID Theft. Imagine just making a phone call to have an advocate handle the A to Z’s of helping you restore your good name, as opposed to contacting multiple entities (calling, emailed, faxing, mailing, etc). Best of all, the services is very affordable at just $12.95 per month (or just $9.95 per month with a legal services plan). If you are married, it covers your spouse as well at no additional cost.
While the ID Theft Shield will assist with certain restoring your credit and your good name, you may have additional legal ramifications from having your identity compromised. For this reason, I also recommend Pre Paid Legal’s Life Events Legal plan which puts the power of the legal system at your fingertips for just pennies per day. For as low as $17 per month, you and your family can have a legal services plan and have an attorney available to you just by making a phone call.
I hope you have found this helpful, but most of all, I hope you take action today to protect yourself and your family.
Although estimates vary as to the frequency of the crime of ID Theft, it is safe to assume that in the time it took you to read this article at least 3 people became victims of ID Theft. Hopefully you were not one of them, but why take a chance?