Friday, July 29, 2011

Safeguarding Against Identity Theft

Because our world is so digitized, with everything from banking to credit cards to stocks and futures trading taking place over the internet, hackers have found a gold mine in digging up and exploiting personal data.

Everything from your social security number to automobile registration and brokerage account data is online, and it's only a few clicks or an inadvertent error away from falling into the hands of unscrupulous types who would do harm to one's financial and personal life.

In the increasingly complex world of internet security a few simple tasks can help one steer clear of the villain hackers who steal everything from credit scores and bank accounts to one's personal identity, and the outcomes of having insufficient identity theft protection can be consequential and painful.

Most online accounts, like banking and credit cards offer a level of encryption and security as a first line of defense. Some offer additional information to be imputed before access is granted to an account. The easiest ways to avoid being hacked is to use difficult passwords, especially using characters and numbers, and to use any secondary security - like additional questions to grant access - as a further safeguard.

Even more effective are online identity security companies, which monitor and scrutinize data flows to guard against unlawful intrusions. One such company is IdentityHawk, which offers a comprehensive solution including social security number monitoring, 24/7 identity security scanning, risk assessment via an identity health score and $1 million in identity theft insurance.

The company offers a 30-day, no-obligation free trial and also provides credit score monitoring and even can help in recovering one's identity if it's already fallen victim to identity theft.

While it pays to be thrifty and frugal in these turbulent economic times, a few dollars spent protecting ones identity and valuable assets should be money well spent.

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