Identity Theft was always a serious issue but has become more rampant than ever before.
With the onset of the worldwide pandemic, scammers and hackers are more abundant and more blatant with their attacks on an individual’s private information. They use this information in a variety of ways. The information can be sold to list brokers which are extremely lucrative, as it is sold over and over. If enough personal information is stolen, a scammer can impersonate someone else and run up credit card bills, deduct monies from bank accounts, get car loans or mortgages in the victim’s name, or even run up medical bills.
Scammers can access personal information via the Internet, through email and text, and fake sites.
Phony links that seem to be legitimate sites can be sent to potential victims. Phone calls are made pretending to be a company or even the government that needs to verify the information. The scams are intricate and very convincing and hundreds of thousands of dollars per year are lost worldwide to scammers. Cybercrimes like phishing and malware, have astonishingly increased 350% since March 2020. Phishing is the use of phony emails and texts, while malware is the actual malicious software inserted into a computer or other device with the intent to steal information or even cause a computer or other device to freeze up. A message will then appear on the user’s screen with an 800 number for immediate assistance, which of course leads directly to the scammer. Even clicking any site online inadvertently can lead to malware and it includes trojans, viruses, and a whole host of malicious Spywares.
The fact that more individuals are now using the Internet than ever before has led to the increase.
Ordering everything online has become the new normal and working from home remotely is also now the norm. Because of quarantine restrictions, individuals are encouraged to stay home and order goods and services from the comfort of their own homes. This fact did not go unnoticed by scammers. It became an opportunity to increase their reach and gather more information as individuals became desensitized to providing information either online or over the phone. Yet the fact remains that most individuals even now, do not recognize a fake website from a real one, or a fake text or email. There is also a deluge of offers that come through email, text, and phone each day, and individuals now are bombarded with offers increasing the risk.
This has led to an increase in need for identity protection services, especially in the USA.
The United States is viewed as wealthy and successful by many underdeveloped countries, even though not everyone is. Many scammers live in countries where poverty and crime are rampant and are not United States citizens, so the view of the USA is gleaned from the Internet and television shows. This leads to the belief that all Americans experience wealth and abundance. In order to combat the widespread identity theft and scamming that is now taking place, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) has compiled a list of 32 “common” scams most prevalent and it is worth reading.
Individuals and companies, however, are now becoming more aware of identity theft and scams.
The old saying, “Once bitten, twice shy” has led to the purchase of record numbers of identity theft protection services over the past year. With 1 in 10 individuals now experiencing some sort of identity theft, even some insurance companies are providing identity theft coverage of losses that occur. Identity theft protection services, such as OneRep exist and are making it easier for consumers to spot fraud before it happens, by offering an Internet database search that is free and will uncover where someone’s identity appears. There are follow-up services also, with packages to suit all budgets, and alerts, monitoring, and the removal of personal information are included in these. A free search through OneRep can be astonishing.
No service can prevent everything entirely, but prevention and follow-up is important.
Clearing up an identity theft attack is stressful and time-consuming. Prevention is key and all consumers now would benefit for the most part with some sort of identity theft protection service. Having a service that can assist in the prevention and clearing up issues after an attack is becoming priceless to some, especially those that are already victims. OneRep is the choice of many consumers as it does provide the ability to follow-up and remove unwanted listings from the Internet, where scammers can view and glean information.
Other services also exist, however, and an individual needs to choose what works best for them.
Dozens upon dozens of services for the prevention and follow-up on identity theft exist, and consumers should check into many before purchase. To be most helpful, here is a brief rundown on two that are around for a decade or more. Each is uniquely different and provides different features. These are not recommendations, just an overview, and each consumer is encouraged to do their own research before purchase. Here then is an overview of ID Shield vs LifeLock Review that may be helpful as a start.
ID Shield is partnered with Legal Shield which stemmed from the parent company, PrePaid Legal which provided simple legal services for a monthly fee and reduced the charges of participating attorneys for consumers. ID Shield now provides identity theft protection in the mix but can offer access to a system of nationwide lawyers if identity theft is already in process, and the arduous process needs an experienced attorney. Other legal services such as letters and phone calls for simple legal problems are also included, but the legal plans offered through Legal Shield, do not come standard with ID Shield. Many individuals will like the combination of identity protection and legal services, but others may not want or need this, and both services do lead to a higher price overall. ID Shield seems more family-friendly and not as cybersecurity-focused as LifeLock.
LifeLock on the other hand, because of its focus on businesses and its affiliation with Norton Anti-Virus can be the perfect choice for business owners. Businesses are generally familiar with the Norton services already. The follow-up and restoration services are included in the plans with reimbursement of losses depending upon the plan purchased. Norton Anti-Virus 360, the most updated virus protection from Norton is included in the LifeLock plans. Legal services do not come included with this selection, however, but with the Identity Restoration Agents that are provided to consumers with the plans that might not be needed. Norton has also been around for decades.
As one can see, choice of identity theft protection services, even OneRep, are a need-based choice.
All services offer free trials and a money-back guarantee, with the ability to cancel at any time. Needs vary as do prices, and the amounts of coverage needed as well as price should be researched before choosing. Identity theft services are almost something that everyone should consider now, as there is a worldwide epidemic of fraud and identity theft, not just a physical virus threat. Protecting one’s identity is paramount now!
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