Friday, July 29, 2016

My Thoughts on Protecting What's Yours

I love to celebrate the beauty in the world. However, the reality is that there are less-than-honest people who prefer to make a profit at another's expense. I have had some occasional past encounters with this type ... Attempting to change my Gilt/ideeli (now known as ideel) login and hack into my eBay and Apple accounts. I have even had a card number stolen after using a locksmith.

I have learned to always stay on top of my latest activities (including the total amount spent on shopping sprees that I'd rather not face) to make sure my receipts/calculated balances sync with what's shown on my account balances and statements.

Recently, my run-in was more intrusive and, as a result, all other activities/projects were momentarily halted ... My actual identity was stolen. I initially thought it might have been one of the major bank breaches. Then I remembered that those breaches involved login information (which I immediately changed).

I now believe my latest incident is related to the IRS data breach  ... Their breach fits the type of information stolen and I never freely enter personal information on any website or click on spammy links. I am pretty cautious. I look at the from email address suffix when I get unusual email from any company that I do business with. If the suffix looks off, I go to my account via typing the website address into the address bar myself to make sure the email is legitimate. If it is not, I notify the company.

My Thoughts
You can watch and be cautious, but sometimes bad things just happen despite your best efforts ...
The best thing you can do is react quickly. As soon as I learned of something suspicious, I checked with the involved companies, submitted an alert to the credit reporting agencies and documented the incidents with numerous government agencies. There are plenty of articles on the web, covering what to do if you become a fraud victim.

The sad thing is that six out of the 10 service reps that I spoke with were also victims of fraud. I have also recently looked into a credit/identity monitoring service.