Identity theft and computer system hacking is on the rise and many Americans are unknowingly at risk. This threat to consumers comes in various forms, many of which you might not have given much thought. The holiday shopping season that just wrapped up routinely sees a spike in the number of identity theft occurrences and with the tax season just around the corner, consumers aren’t out of the woods when it comes to facing this debilitating crime.

Thieves often seek to gain access to your debit and credit card information, online login credentials, or they may attempt to use your social security number to establish credit or steal your tax refund. Bank account information is also incredibly vulnerable, not just during the holiday and tax seasons, but throughout the year.

While many people are familiar with these methods of identity theft, sometimes people overlook the possibility of hackers gaining unauthorized access to your employment or health records. Throughout 2014, identity theft struck millions of consumers through some of the biggest, most crippling data breaches in history. According to TransUnion®, every minute approximately 19 people fall victim to identity theft. Now more than ever, consumers need to be proactive protecting themselves from thieves.

Most recently, usernames and passwords for 13,000 accounts linked to brands such as Walmart, Amazon and Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) were leaked. In addition to the credentials, credit card numbers and other information were compromised.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., suffered a massive data breach in 2014, as well. In August, it was announced that names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and internal information had been compromised for 76 million households. This was on the heels of Home Depot’s data breach, which an investigation determined files were stolen with email addresses and credit card data.

It is abundantly clear that the number of data breaches and instances where consumer PII is leaked are steadily on the rise. Fortunately, for consumers they can easily protect themselves from this growing threat.

Subscribing to a service such as Identity Guard, helps consumers take a proactive approach in fighting against ID theft.

Identity Guard® Total Protection® empowers consumers with these helpful services.

  • Detailed analysis on what is affecting your credit
  • Three-bureau credit monitoring with prompt email alerts
  • Unlimited toll-free customer service
  • A simple, easy-to-use personal dashboard

It has never been easier to monitor Experian, Equifax and TransUnion credit profiles with detailed analysis. Prompt alerts are included in the service and customers have the choice of email, text and/or phone notifications. Identity Guard members can also view their credit report and score anytime in their dashboard and receive quarterly report updates which highlight certain changes to their reports. Identity Guard also offers Social Security Number and bank account number monitoring.

This service allows you to extend protection to your children by purchasing additional services. kID SureSM is available for children under the age of 18, however this service must be purchased by the legal guardian of the child.

In the event of identity theft, one-on-one counseling is available to help cancel credit cards and advise on the next steps. Identity Guard offers up to $1 million in identity theft insurance for expenses that result from the crime. Lost Wallet Protection allows clients to access up to $2,000 from one of their accounts.

Be a proactive consumer and don’t become like one of the 13 million victims who had their identity stolen in 2013*. For a free two week trial period of Identity Guard’s identity theft protection and recovery services, please visit the Identity Guard website.

*2014 Javelin Identity Fraud Report, Javelin Strategy & Research

By: Laura Mowry

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