My very first experience with identity theft was when I had just turned 18 years old and went to get a job. The interviewer asked me how long I have been in this country and asked me for my green card. They did a credit check and that said that I wasn’t me. I had to schedule a new interview where I had to bring my social security card as well as my birth certificate and my California ID card to prove that I was me. That was in 1988. I wrote about this experience in my book.
My second experience was in 2004 when I tried to get our utilities turned on with PG&E, they told me that I had to bring in my ID card and my social security card because according to their credit check, I wasn’t who I said I was again. This time I asked and they told me the first name was Marsha.
Many years had gone by and I started seeing these commercials where a man was telling the world what his social security number was and daring people to steal it. That company was LifeLock. I decided that I did not want my prior experiences to happen again, so I signed up with Lifelock. I only pay $10 a month and my name and social security number has never been safer. I have been a member since January 2008.
As a member, Lifelock will send you a credit report every year and they will put restrictions in place so not even you can sign up for a credit card or buy a car without showing proof. They will send you email and/or text alerts when someone is trying to use your credit.
Here are some interesting and alarming stats. Households that make $100K per year have the highest fraud rate at 7.4%. The average cost per person who loses their identity is $1,513. 11.6 million adults were victims of identity theft in 2011 and $18 billion dollars was lost. 6.6% are smart phone users, 6.8% are people who interact with apps in social media websites, 8.2% “checked in” on websites with their smart phone with GPS and 10.1% are LinkedIn users.
How hack-friendly is your password? If you have a password that is only 6 characters without any symbols, a hacker will figure that password out in .000224 seconds, but if your password is 10 characters and uses a symbol (&%$#@), it could take them 20 days which gives you enough time to change your password every couple of weeks. How safe do you feel now? If they can figure out your email password and send emails on your behalf, imagine them stealing your bank account password and draining your account without you even knowing it.
If I were you, I would sign up with Lifelock today. Check out their website and LifeLock on Twitter. It’s nice knowing that my credit is safe.