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Was Your Credit Card Info Stolen From Target?

December 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

by: .

target identity theft

If you shopped at a Target retail store in the United States between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013, your credit card information HAS been stolen, along with 40 million other credit and debit card accounts.

Target has confirmed that a massive data breech, orchestrated by hackers, infected all of the retail giant’s Point of Sale machines with a computer virus that stole credit/debit card information upon any in store transaction.

The type of data stolen included the magnetic strip from the back of the cards which would allow criminals to create counterfeit cards by encoding your credit/debit card info onto any card with a magnetic strip, such as a gift card.

And although Target spokesman Eric Hausman said, “There is no indication that debit card PINs were impacted.” The thieves may have also been able to swipe PIN data from debit card transactions without Target’s knowledge, which could theoretically be used to withdraw cash from ATMs.

In fact, according to Brian Krebs of KrebsOnSecurity, “Credit and debit card accounts stolen in a recent data breach at retail giant Target have been flooding underground black markets in recent weeks, selling in batches of one million cards and going for anywhere from $20 to more than $100 per card.”

The Secret Service also confirmed it was investigating the security issue that began the day before Thanksgiving and ran through December 15.

The stolen data includes;
– customer names
– customer dates of birth
– credit and debit card numbers
– card expiration dates
– the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards
– the magnetic strip from the back of the cards

But what exactly is Target going to do to help the millions of consumers whose credit/debit card information they lost?

Fear not, Target wrote you a letter!

The letter basically states that you should monitor your credit card and bank statements and make sure that you do not see any unauthorized charges.

They also suggested that you monitor your credit reports to make sure that someone doesn’t steal your identity and open fraudulent accounts under your name.

If you do see unauthorized charges or fraudulent accounts, Target suggests that you address it immediately.

In short, Target isn’t going to do anything to help you; they are leaving it completely up to you. But at least they wrote you a letter!

UPDATE: Lawsuit Filed against Target for credit/debit card breach. Read more

So what do you do?
1. Watch this short video from the FTC on protecting your Identity.

2. Monitor your credit (for FREE).
Use one or all of the following free services to keep a close eye on your credit.
www.quizzle.com
www.creditsesame.com
www.creditkarma.com

But what if your Identity has already been compromised?

You can read more about identity theft here, and the 4 critical steps to recovering your credit.

Protect Your Smartphone from ID Theft

February 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

by: .
protect your smartphone

Smartphones have quickly become the consumer’s preferred choice for internet browsing, video streaming, GPS navigation, and of course running third party applications. We check our emails, store passwords, addresses, phone numbers, calenders, and bank account information on these devices.  With so much personal information on such a small mobile device, how secure is of your data from the common criminal?

So, how do you protect yourself and your private data from falling into the wrong hands. Just look at it this way, you’d never hand over family photos, your checking account numbers, or a stack of email to a perfect stranger, would you?

Of course not—but that’s essentially what you’d be doing by not following a few common sense rules to protecting your data.

oneLack of Password Protection

This is the most simple and easy thing you can do to protect your data. Most identity thieves are not computer hackers and will not waste their time breaking into your phone, they will most likely move on to the next phone (without a password lock). Locking your phone is an absolute must, if you’re not locking your smartphone, you’re just waiting for the inevitable.

twoStoring your Passwords

Storing your passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank account numbers; either in documents, folders, or your phone address book is a bad idea. Keeping your phone free of this type of information is the best way of protecting yourselves. Delete all personal and private information from your smartphones immediately.

threeAuto Save Passwords 

Saving your passwords is very convenient, unfortunately everything that’s convenient for you makes it ultra convenient for an identity thief giving them access to your personal financial information without putting up any fight at all. Solution: Do not save your passwords in any of your browsers or apps.

Bluetooth

Hands free devices are all the rage these days, especially the wireless bluetooth devices. But be aware that leaving your bluetooth connection on, opens you up to hackers gaining control of your smartphone and all of its’ stored data. Hacking a device via bluetooth does have some limitations, the hacker has to be within 30 feet of the device the entire time to maintain connectivity. Solution: If you’re not using your bluetooth, turn it off.

fiveSelling your Phone

Got a new phone, well, you’ll probably sell or donate your old one. But how many of us took the time to actually erase all of the data? All of the photos, videos, passwords, usernames, private emails, etc….  Do yourself a favor, if you’re going to sell your old device, make sure that all of your data has been completely removed from it.

If you think you may have been a victim of Identity Theft and need help in the restoration of your credit report, CreditFirm.net can help you get your life back.

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 5 days.

Support. Award winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

identity theft testimonial

Tax Related Identity Theft

February 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

by:
Identity Theft Taxes

Tax related identity theft has quickly become one of the most popular and profitable types of identity theft in America. This type of identity theft happens when a criminal uses your Social Security number to get a job or steals your tax refund.

Here are some signs that you may be a victim of Tax Related Identity Theft

  • You receive W-2’s from employers you do not recognize.
  • More than one tax return was filed in your name.

Some forms of identity theft are crimes of necessity, instigated by illegal aliens who do not have proper documentation to get a job. These criminals obtain employment using stolen IDs and social security numbers. As the employer files their annual taxes they report the identity thief’s income under the stolen social security number. The outcome; the owner of the stolen Social Security number inherits excess tax liability as well as monetary loss.

The most common form of Tax ID Theft is occurs when a criminal uses an unsuspecting consumers social security number to file a tax return before the consumer has a chance to do the same.  The criminal then steals the refund out of the victims mailbox or has the refund directly deposited into their account.

Dealing With Tax-Related Identity Theft

If you believe that you may be a victim of Tax Related Identity Theft, fill out an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) and contact the IRS immediately at the number listed below. IRS account specialists will help you to get your identity theft resolved, tax returns filed, and get you any refund you are due.

IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit
1-800-908-4490

If you think you may have been a victim of Identity Theft and need help in the restoration of your credit report, CreditFirm.net can help you get your life back.

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 5 days.

Support. Award winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

identity theft testimonial

Identity Theft | How to Protect Your IDENTITY!

December 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

Identity theft happens. It’s an unfortunate fact of modern life. But there are certain steps you can take to help keep your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

Here are five easy ways:

  1. Read your credit card and bank statements carefully and often.
  2. Know your payment due dates.
    • If a bill doesn’t show up when you expect it, look into it.
  3. Read the statements from your health insurance plan.
    • Make sure the claims paid match the care you got.
  4. Shred any documents with personal and financial information.
  5. Review each of your three credit reports at least once a year. It’s easy, and it’s free.
    • Get your Free Credit Reports Here

Before you know it, protecting your personal information can be as routine as locking your doors at night.

Kids With Credit Reports

May 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

 By: Credit.com

Children with Credit HistoryChildren are not supposed to have a credit report in their name, but new studies have found that the number of those who do is growing considerably, which can pose major problems for affected kids.

People under the age of 18 who have a credit report in their name are almost certainly the victims of identity theft, and this is a large and growing problem nationwide, according to a report from the Columbus Dispatch. Some studies have found that large amounts of kids have been a0ffected by identity theft, in which the crooks open large amounts of credit in their name and steal tens of thousands of dollars or more, and leave their young victims to carry the blame.

Often, this type of crime is carried out when a thief gains access to a kid’s Social Security number, the report said. Sometimes this can happen as a result of data breaches at hospitals or schools, and other times, their relatives may steal their identity. These youngsters are usually targeted because they will have no credit history and, since parents wouldn’t normally even think to make sure their son or daughter has a credit report in their name, the crime is unlikely to be discovered for a long time.

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“These kids’ Social Security numbers are particularly valuable to thieves because they can go years without detection,” Bo Holland, chief executive of AllClearID, told the newspaper. “Because of privacy restrictions, the credit bureaus can’t share with parents what they find in their (child’s) files. So they don’t know who is using the Social number or what accounts were opened.”

The most common way a child who has been victimized by this type of crime discovers the problem is when they turn 18—sometimes even older—and apply for a line of credit, the report said. To their dismay, they may learn that they’re saddled with significant debts, such as those for auto loans, credit cards and sometimes even mortgages, that have gone long periods of time without payment.

One thing parents who are concerned about this type of crime can do is contact the credit reporting agencies and ask them to put a freeze on their kids’ credit until they turn 18 and are capable of obtaining some types of loans on their own.

Source: Credit.com (http://s.tt/1bMPx)

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