Just copy and paste the following code:
Recent headlines about data breaches and losses of personal information have prompted many companies to advertise products or services to help consumers prevent or minimize their risk of identity theft.
The Federal Trade Commission urges consumers to be sure they understand what they’re getting when they sign up for a product to protect their information. Consumers should also be aware of the rights and protections available to them under federal or state laws – these can help protect your identity, as well as help you recover from identity theft at no cost. Knowing your rights can help you determine what commercial product or service may be appropriate for you.
Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, you may be entitled to two kinds of free fraud alerts: initial and extended. An initial alert can be placed if you suspect you are about to become or have become a victim of identity theft. It’s good for 90 days. An extended alert stays on your credit report for seven years. To place it, you will need to have been victimized and provide a police report stating so.
You can also place a credit freeze on your credit report, which will mean potential creditors and others can’t access it unless you lift the freeze either permanently or temporarily. A freeze is different from a fraud alert in that it stops all access to your credit report, while an alert allows creditors to get your report after verifying your identity.
Identity theft protection companies offer a range of products and services. Some of them only offer to lock, flag or freeze your credit report, something you can do yourself.
Other services will monitor your credit report, and notify you of the activity. Again, this is something you can do yourself. Still other services offer to help you rebuild your identity in the event of an identity theft. These require a power of attorney, so that they can act on your behalf when dealing with credit bureaus or creditors.
Many companies offer additional services, including removing your name from mailing lists or pre-screened offers of credit, while others offer reimbursement if you experience a financial loss due to ID theft. There are also those that monitor your personal information online, and notify you if your identity has been exposed to possible theft.
Before you sign up for any of these services, compare what they offer, read the fine print, and determine what will work best for you.
But do something. Statistics show that millions of Americans became victims of identity theft last year, and the numbers are growing. Be a smart consumer and get proactive when it comes to your personal information.