Identity Theft – Monitor Your Credit Report

Written by Charles Essmeier

The recent security breach at credit card processor CardSystems Solutions has many consumers worried. Thanks to a well-placed computer virus, nearly forty million credit card numbers were stolen, and cardholders nationwide are justifiably concerned about identity theft. Should a thief steal your identity, he or she could run up thousands of dollars worth of debt in your name and it could take years to sort outrepparttar ensuing financial mess.

Fortunately, a relatively new tool is available to consumers to help alert them to potential fraudulent activity on their credit record. Each ofrepparttar 150625 three main credit bureaus offer a subscription-based credit monitoring program, as do numerous banks and financial institutions. Fees vary, but $50 or so per year is typical. The bureaus will notify consumers of activity conducted under their names, includingrepparttar 150626 opening of new accounts, changes of address, credit inquiries from lenders, late payments and lawsuits and liens. Notification can come inrepparttar 150627 form of e-mail or even a message to your cell phone, if you like.

Should you be notified

Identity Theft – Beware of Phishing Attacks!

Written by Charles Essmeier

“Dear Bank ofrepparttar West customer”,repparttar 150624 message begins. I’ve just received an e-mail message, purportedly fromrepparttar 150625 security department atrepparttar 150626 Bank ofrepparttar 150627 West. The message explains that certain features of my account have been suspended due to “suspicious activity” on my account. The message then provides a link that I can follow in order to fill out an online form confirming my identity. It’s certainly nice that Bank ofrepparttar 150628 West is worried aboutrepparttar 150629 status of my account. There’s just one problem – I don’t have an account at Bank ofrepparttar 150630 West. In fact, I’ve never even heard of Bank ofrepparttar 150631 West.

This message is an example of “phishing”, a relatively new problem found onrepparttar 150632 Internet. Unscrupulous individuals are sending spam e-mail messages byrepparttar 150633 millions, purporting to be from credit card companies, PayPal, eBay, or banks. Each message warnsrepparttar 150634 recipient of questionable activity on his or her account, as asks thatrepparttar 150635 recipient click on a link to verify personal information. The requested information is usually a username or password. Sometimes it’s a credit card number and expiration date. These messages are almost always fraudulent, and consumers are falling for them byrepparttar 150636 thousands. The messages certainly look legitimate, and often mimicrepparttar 150637 style ofrepparttar 150638 legitimate company’s messages exactly. How can you tellrepparttar 150639 difference between a real message from your bank and a fake one designed to

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