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Identity Theft Protection Services: How Does It Work

By: Josh S. Brown|LRL Writer

Identity Theft What To DoThe rise in identity theft protection services has entered the American public's consciousness as the media have reported fear-inducing stories of innocent people becoming unsuspecting victims of fraud. Consider this fact: every time you disclose sensitive personal information – whether it is your driver's license, social security number, credit card number – you run the risk of having your identity compromised. What are identity theft protection services and how can you use them to ensure personal security and peace of mind? In what follows, we will examine some possible answers.

Criminals can steal your personal information from many places. Some people fear the extreme situation, such as a home break-in where a thief takes off with your personal information. But identity theft can occur not only over the Internet (as many people know), but also in locations such as restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, and any other place where you supply your credit card or driver's license. Even applying for a loan or mortgage requires you to provide your social security number, and you put yourself at risk. Therefore, it is important to be more vigilant and know whom your information is going to.

The sheer rise in identity theft has created a new industry: identity theft protection services. Many protection services offer protection in several ways. First, most closely monitor your credit cards for any suspicious use such as unusual transactions or the number of transactions made within a given time. Most protection services also monitor your public records and bank accounts. Some offer credit monitoring as well in the event that new accounts are opened without your authorization. The leading protection services take an even more proactive approach to protect your identity.

There are also steps you can take individually if you believe you are a victim of identity theft. First, request a copy of your credit report, and place a fraud alert. With a fraud alert, you can prevent criminals from continuing to open new accounts in your name. Secondly, most companies have a fraud unit. You can call these companies and request that these accounts be closed immediately. It helps if you have a copy of documents. Communication with financial institutions and credit card companies should be done both over the phone and in writing. Finally, file a police report and a complaint with the FTC.

If you can afford it, identity theft protection services can save you some time and paperwork as it would be necessary if you were to do it all yourself in the event that your identity is stolen. Make sure you research the available services and find out if it covers true identity restoration and legal services to assist you, because it takes an average of 600 hours to restore your identity back. Compare reviews before choosing a program.

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