It was on the news a couple of days ago. The government broke up an international identity theft ring with 11 individuals from the United States and other countries such as Germany and China. This was the largest identity theft breach so far, with as many as 40 million card numbers in jeopardy. The credit card numbers were stolen from large businesses such as TJ Maxx, Barnes and Noble, BJ’s Warehouse Club and others. Everyone should be worried, I certainly am.
Last year, while checking my credit history, I saw two small loans that I did not recognize. I called the loan companies and found out that someone used my Social Security number to acquire the said loan. Only the name and address on the loan was different. I was told that I need to get a police report and it took me several days of phone calls and faxing documents to the three credit reporting companies and loan companies before my record was cleared. I had to prove to these companies that I am the rightful owner of that Social Security number. That was a stressful time for me. I was still ‘lucky’, if you can call it that, since this woman only used my Social Security number and not my name to open two loans. Obviously, this person used a fake ID card to secure the loan using her real name.
Now that even the big name businesses' security are compromised, consumers need to be proactive in protecting their identity. That's why life lock is the best idea so far to combat identity theft. If I was registered with this service then, the moment that my Social Security number was used, I would've been alerted of the fraud. Lifelock monitors your identity and personal information, they also have the only identity theft child protection program out there.
Even if the government cracked down on these identity theft criminals, there are still more of them out there. So why not take charge, check your credit history for any discrepancies every year and be careful of your personal information.