Synthetic Identity Theft – Protect Yourself

What is Synthetic Identity Theft?

Synthetic identity theft encompasses 80-85% of all identity fraud; so, as youSSN card synthetic id theft example can see it is prevalent and you need to be sure to protect yourself against it. You are probably wondering “What is synthetic identity theft”, right?

Well, synthetic identity theft is creating a fake identity with either valid or phony credentials such as names, Social Security numbers, date of birth, and addresses. This information is stolen from dark web marketplaces or via data breaches.

What is the Dark Web?

Dark web marketplaces are places on the web that are not accessible by normal internet browsers. It’s a network of websites that are hidden and, IP addresses can activate masking software and move around on encrypted connection to hide their locations and identities.

The process of synthetic identity fraud is somewhat intricate; theseDifferent Layers of Internet Browsing fraudsters combine real and fake personal information and create a new identity. It’s amazing the things that can be done with a stolen SSN; it can be combined with a real but different name and geographic information, and a new identity exists.

After this new identity is formed is when all the fraudulent activities begin; new credit card accounts, new bank accounts and other types of credit accounts are opened, and havoc is wreaked on your SSN.

Steps to Take if Your Social Security Number is Stolen

If your Social Security number is taken you need to ensure that no further damage can be done to your credit or to your identity. If your identity or credit is compromised it can take years, and a lot of money to repair it. This can be avoided if the necessary steps are taken.

Freeze Your Credit with Each of the Three Major Consumer Credit Bureaus – In order for credit accounts to be opened with your personal information, your credit profile must be accessible. Call Experian, Equifax, and Transunion separately and request that your credit file is frozen. While frozen, no new creditors can access your credit to open new accounts unless you temporarily grant them access. The credit freeze is usually secured with a pin number; chosen by you or the credit bureau. For Experian credit freeze click here, for Equifax credit freeze click here, and for Transunion, credit freeze click here.

  • Notify Responsible Government Agencies about Identity Theft – Even ifprotect your identity tips you have not yet seen evidence that your SSN has been used for fraudulent reasons report your stolen SSN to the Social Security Administration, the Federal Trade Commission’s website https://IdentityTheft.gov and file a police report with your local precinct. Police reports are required to recover any losses from identity theft.
  • Inform Fraud Department of Companies You Think Fraudulent Use of Your SSN has Occurred – Contact companies where you believe your personal information has been used and advise them that you are a victim of identity theft. Follow their procedures, if necessary change all login profiles and passwords.
  • Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit File – To ensure that all three major consumer credit bureaus are aware of the situation place a fraud alert on your credit file. This process is a little easier than freezing your credit; you only must place the fraud alert on one credit bureau and the other two will be notified electronically. The purpose that this serves is that if a lender requests your credit they will be made aware of the situation. You can even request that you be called prior to the opening of any accounts and add your personal contact number in the alert. You can initiate the credit alert through Transunion by clicking here.
  • Monitor Your Identity – To ensure that there is no one is using your Social Security number you need to get a monitoring service that monitors the dark web; MyFico is the perfect service for this, you can check out my review here.

MyFico ID Theft Monitoring

MyFico not only monitors all three major consumer credit bureaus’ activity, but they also provide black market web surveillance. They provide SSN alias watch which monitors names, addresses, and other personal information associated with your Social Security number; this is called intelligent identity theft monitoring.

Synthetic ID theft is hard to fight as it is thought of as a victimless crime; asmyfico ad the fraudulent activities and accounts that are opened are done so under a fake identity.

The major concern is minor’s SSN’s being taken; as they will not know there is a problem until they become adults and try to open credit accounts of their own. It falls on the parents to also monitor our children’s SSN’s as well as our own.

Act now and start monitoring your identity before it is too late! Go to myfico.com and start protecting yourself now. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask below or email me at shwana@yourcreditrestoredfast.com.

Ways to Protect Your Identity

stolen fingerprint

As you all know 143 million people were affected by the Equifax Data Breach. There are steps that you must take to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud. Consumer information that was stolen from Equifax consisted of Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers so it is in your best interest to take the necessary steps to prevent any further damage.  Below I have listed ways to protect your identity if your personal information was compromised.

Check Equifax Website to See if Your Information Breached

To verify whether your information has been hacked you need to go to https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/ scroll down to the Am I Impacted? tab and click on it. The next page will have a red Am I Impacted? tab click on that. You will be routed to another page where you enter your last name and the last 6 digits of your SSN then click continue.

Pull Credit Reports and Review for Unrecognized Accounts

 

You will need to pull all 3 of your credit reports, Experian, Transunion, and Equifax, to ensure that there is no fraudulent activity present. You can do this at myfico.com, creditsesame.com. If you see any accounts that you did not open, dispute these immediately.

File a Police Report

If you have confirmed that you are a victim of fraud or identity theft, file a police report immediately. You can call your local police station to come to you to make a report or you can go down to the local police station to do so. After you have your report and case number file it with the credit bureaus.

online application to file a police report

Put a Security Freeze on Your Credit

You can do this by phone or online, due to hold times it is easier to do this online if you have access to a computer. For Experian’s security freeze center go here https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html, for Transunion’s security freeze center go here  https://freeze.transunion.com, Equifax’s security freeze go here https://www.freeze.equifax.com. You will be walked through the steps. You will create a pin number for Transunion and Experian, Equifax will issue you a pin number. The pin number is for your future use when you need to temporarily lift or remove the security freeze.

Put a Fraud Alert on Your Credit File

You will need to contact at least one of the credit bureaus to add a fraud alert to your credit file. If you add the fraud alert to at least one of the 3 credit bureaus the other 2 will be notified and add a fraud alert. I chose Experian because it is easy to place one there with your personal information. To add a fraud alert, go here https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html . This will make it so that when any account is applied for the creditor must go through extra steps to approve the account. You will also receive a call for confirmation that it was you initiate the account request to be opened.

Monitor Your Credit – Sign Up for Credit Monitoring Service

If you sign up for a credit monitoring service you can rest assured that you will know what it is going on with your credit immediately. Credit monitoring services have alerts that can be sent to your email and your phone by text if there is any activity at all on your credit reports. I recommend Transunion, MyFico and Smarter Scores. You can access all three of your credit reports here.

Sign Up for Identity Protection

To prevent being a victim of Identity theft you should sign up for an identity protection program. I recommend Identity Force or Watchman Identity. With these services, you will be notified if someone tries to use your information for anything. More importantly their attempts will be stopped. These services also provide identity restoration services.

 

I hope this helps. These are the best ways to protect against identity theft. Also, if your information was stolen, the above instructions will protect you against any further damage. Feel free to ask any questions if you have any I will get back with you asap.

Equifax Data Breach

On September 7, 2017 Equifax announced that approximately 143 million US consumers have been potentially impacted by a cybersecurity incident within their institution. Based on the investigation a US website application was exploited and certain files were accessed from mid-May through July 2017. The files included very sensitive information such as: Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers. Additionally, approximately 209,000 consumers credit card numbers, 182,000 dispute documents with personal identifying information of US consumers were also found to be breached.

Equifax also reported that there is limited personal information for specific UK and Canadian residents that were found to have been accessed by unauthorized persons. For now, no other country residents have been impacted by this breach. Equifax only discovered the unauthorized access of their database on July 29 of this year. They have hired an independent firm to assist and they have notified law enforcement although they claim that the investigation is almost complete and will be ending in a few weeks.

I urge everyone to go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to verify whether your information has been impacted. When you get to this page scroll to the bottom and click on the potential impact tab. The next page will have another tab that you need to click on, check potential impact. You will be directed to another page where you will need to enter your last name and the last six-digits of your Social Security number. You will also need to check the “I’m not a robot” box then click on the continue tab.

Unfortunately, I am one of the 143 million US consumers whose sensitive information has been impacted. Equifax is providing a complimentary TrustedID Premier subscription for those that are affected. After the system notifies you that your information has been breached you are issued a date to come back to the Equifax website to complete enrollment. My date was 2 days later. In the meantime, I recommend freezing your credit reports as I did. Equifax’s system would not allow me to freeze my reports but I did do so with Experian and Transunion. I also reviewed my credit reports with a fine-toothed comb. In addition to that I put a fraud alert on my credit reports. You can never be too careful. To easily check all three of your credit reports simultaneously you can do so at MyFico.com or CreditRepair.com or MyFreeScoreNow.com.

If anyone has any questions for me please don’t hesitate to ask. You only get one identity. I will be checking for updates and will be posting them as they are made available. I am available if anyone needs any clarification at all.