Credit Card Numbers Explained

Take a look in your wallet. Chances are you have a plastic (or, if you’re super fancy, metal) card with a 15- or 16-digit sequence of numbers on it. That’s your credit card number—or debit card number, if your card draws from your bank account and not a line of credit.

A young person holds a credit card and their cell phone

But what’s the point of credit card numbers? Are they sequential or random? Here’s what you need to know about credit card numbers:

What Is a Credit Card Number?

A credit card number is a unique number that helps identify your account and card. This number makes it possible for you to pay with the card and for money to be taken out of the right account.

Think about it similarly to your checking account number. Your personal checks are printed with a specific series of numbers. First, the routing number, which indicates which bank the check draws on. Next is the account number, which tells which account the money should come from.

Credit card numbers work the same way. Each part of that long number has a specific function. These are standardized by the International Organization for Standardization.

  • I just watched a documentary on the dark web, and I will never feel safe using my credit card again!

  • Luckily I don’t have to worry about that. I have ExtraCredit, so I get $1,000,000 ID protection and dark web scans.

  • I need that peace of mind in my life. What else do you get with ExtraCredit?

  • It’s basically everything my credit needs. I get 28 FICO® scores, rent and utility reporting, cash rewards and even a discount to one of the leaders in credit repair.

  • It’s settled; I’m getting ExtraCredit tonight. Totally unrelated, but any suggestions for my new fear of sharks? I watched that documentary too.

  • …we live in Oklahoma.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card membership, up to $150 back.
  • Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of card membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores.
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

The Meaning Behind Credit Card Numbers

The first number indicates which type of card it is. This is the Major Industry Identifier (MII). Visa card numbers, for example, always start with a 4. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 3: American Express or cards under the Amex umbrella
  • 4: Visa
  • 5: Mastercard
  • 6: Discover

That first digit along with the next five in the credit card number are called the Issuer Identification Number or Bank Identification Number. This identifies the credit card company and its network, similar to the bank routing number on a personal check. The ISO has issued a mandate to increase the IIN from six digits to eight digits to prevent a shortage.

The rest of the digits in your credit card number, with the exception of the final number, are related to your specific account. They aren’t necessarily the same numbers that appear in the account number on your statement. But this string of numbers is tied to your account so that payment processes use the right account when you make a credit or debit card payment.

The last digit of a credit card number is known as the check digit, determined by the Luhn algorithm. This number is applied in an unusual formula that helps determine if your credit card number is valid when you enter it. Using this formula, it takes only a fraction of a second for a computer to confirm that a credit card number is valid.

How to Tell If a Credit Card Number Is Valid

You, too, can crack the credit card code to see if the number you’re looking at is a valid one, if you really want to. Simply apply the Luhn algorithm. You can try this with your own credit card number.

  • For 16-digit numbers, start with the first number on the left. For 15-digit numbers, start with the second digit.
  • Double each alternating number on the card.
  • Add any double-digit numbers so that they reduce to a single-digit number. For example, if one of the numbers is 8, it doubles to 16. You add 1 + 6 to get 7.
  • Next, add all those numbers together with the alternating numbers that you did not double.
  • If the total you get is divisible by 10, the credit card number is likely valid.

Let’s say your credit card number is 1234567890123456.

Since it’s a 16-digit number, we’ll start by doubling the first digit, adding it to the next digit, doubling the third digit, adding it to the fourth digit, and so on. When we double numbers like 5, we have to reduce the double digit down to the sum of the two digits—5 times 2 is 10, and 1 plus 0 is 1. So we end up with this:

2 + 2 + 6 + 4 + 1 + 6 + 5 + 8 + 9 + 0 + 2 + 2 + 6 + 4 + 1 + 6 = 58

Because 58 is not divisible by 10, it’s likely not a valid credit card number!

What Is a CVV Number?

Flip your credit card over and you’ll see a three-digit number on the back near or on the signature space. This is the Card Verification Value number. The CVV on American Express cards are often four digits found on the front of the card.

This is not part of the credit card number, but it’s often used to validate payments. When you’re making a card payment via phone or online, the vendor doesn’t have physical access to the card. To help ensure that you do have the card in your possession and aren’t simply trying card numbers generated using the math above, you have to enter the CVV number.

What Do the Last Four Digits of a Credit Card Mean?

The last four digits of your credit card number actually don’t mean much, but there’s a reason you might be asked for them. If you save a credit card in an online account or other database, the information has to be encrypted. Employees with that company can’t just look up accounts and see full credit card information. They’re usually only able to see the last four digits.

You might be asked to confirm those numbers to ensure the right card is being charged. You might also be asked to confirm them when buying something online with a saved card number to ensure you’re really you and not someone who has hacked into an account.

Why Does This Matter?

While this system is very important to credit card issuers and merchants, it actually matters very little to the average credit card user. You will always want to protect your credit card number from being stolen, and it might be helpful to know that the first six digits are the same for everyone with the same kind of credit card you have.

As credit cards continue to evolve, the EMV smart chips embedded on the cards will eventually replace magnetic strips as a means of transmitting credit card account numbers and verifying transactions. But the credit card number itself should still be with us for a long time.

Time for a New Credit Card

Feel like you’re missing out on the cool math and technology behind the credit card number because you don’t have one? Maybe it’s time for you to apply for a credit card. Check out Credit.com’s credit card marketplace to compare credit cards for all types of needs and financial positions.

Source: credit.com

Credit card chips can fall Out—and into the wrong hands

rebuilding credit

Protecting your personal information is important to protecting and repairing your credit. Security risks are everywhere, including your wallet. By now, you probably now have a credit or debit card that uses a chip. Those chips, however, can fall out of the plastic card. An intact chip could be placed onto another card, allowing an unauthorized person to access the account or personal information. Consumers should be aware of this issue to protect their security and identity.

When it comes to security, losing a credit card chip is equivalent to losing the entire card itself. Glue holds the chip in place, and normal wear and tear can loosen the adhesive. In an extreme scenario, a thief could remove a card’s chip and replace it with a dummy chip. With the stolen chip, a thief could make purchases without raising suspicion. Recovering from credit card theft is a time consuming process. Depending on the extent of the damage, the effects could have a long-term impact on your credit, especially if an account becomes delinquent.

Tips to Protect Yourself

Security risks always exist, but you can take measures to protect yourself. Bankrate compiled five easy techniques for consumers to protect their accounts and information:

  • Set up mobile banking alerts for your phone from your financial institution. You can discover unusual activity as quickly as possible.
  • Regularly monitor your accounts online. Being familiar with your activity can help identify fraudulent transactions faster.
  • Avoid public computers. Do not log on to your email if your bank corresponds with you there. Set up a separate email account just for your finances and checking it from safe locations.
  • Avoid doing business with unfamiliar online companies. Stick to established merchants and websites.
  • If your information has been compromised, notify your financial institutions and local law enforcement. Remember to notify any of the three credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion—to place a fraud alert on your credit reports.

Lexington Law can help you monitor and repair your credit. You can learn more here, and carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.

Sources

http://abcnews.go.com/US/chips-potentially-fall-chip-credit-cards-leaving-consumers/story?id=49103435

http://abc7chicago.com/finance/credit-card-chips-can-fall-out-posing-a-security-risk/2284510/

Chip in credit cards can fall out, be removed and stolen

https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/5-ways-theives-steal-credit-card-data/

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

4 Credit Cards With Great Security Features

[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Thieves lurk in the physical and virtual world, looking for ways to access your credit card number or commit identity theft. Whether you shop online or in brick-and-mortar stores, it’s wise to take steps to protect yourself against fraud.

Credit card companies have many tools to help combat credit card fraud, and sometimes offer additional security features to protect against identity theft.

Here are four credit cards with great security features.

1. Discover it Cash Back

Rewards: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly rotating categories like gas stations or restaurants, 1% cash back on everything else

  • I just watched a documentary on the dark web, and I will never feel safe using my credit card again!

  • Luckily I don’t have to worry about that. I have ExtraCredit, so I get $1,000,000 ID protection and dark web scans.

  • I need that peace of mind in my life. What else do you get with ExtraCredit?

  • It’s basically everything my credit needs. I get 28 FICO® scores, rent and utility reporting, cash rewards and even a discount to one of the leaders in credit repair.

  • It’s settled; I’m getting ExtraCredit tonight. Totally unrelated, but any suggestions for my new fear of sharks? I watched that documentary too.

  • …we live in Oklahoma.

Signup Bonus: Discover will match the cash back you earn in the first year.

Annual Fee:

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): , then

Why We Picked It: Discover’s Freeze it feature gives you peace of mind if you’ve lost track of your card.

Security Features: With Freeze it, cardholders can freeze their card within seconds using Discover’s website or mobile app. This way, if you can’t locate your card, you can freeze it and look around before reporting it lost or stolen. If your card is misplaced, Discover offers free overnight card replacement. Cardholders also won’t be held liable for any unauthorized purchases.

Drawbacks: To maximize cash back, you’ll have to do the work of activating and tracking rotating purchase categories.

2. Blue Cash Everyday from American Express

Rewards: 3% cash back on up to $6,000 spent at supermarkets, 2% cash back at gas stations and select department stores, 1% cash back on everything else

Welcome Offer: $150 statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first three months of card membership

Annual Fee:
$0

APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases , then 13.99%-23.99% Variable
See Rates and Fees

Why We Picked It: Cardholders can control available spending for authorized users.

Security Features: If you have multiple cards for authorized users on your account, you can set a spending limit for each card’s billing period. That way, your authorized user (or a conniving friend) can’t rack up a huge balance. American Express won’t hold you accountable for any unauthorized charges.

Drawbacks: If you don’t spend a lot at supermarkets or gas stations, you may want to look for another cash back card.

3. Citi ThankYou Preferred

Rewards: Two points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment, one point per dollar spent on everything else

Signup Bonus: 15,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months

Annual Fee: $0

APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers and then 15.24% – 25.24% (Variable) ongoing APR.

Why We Picked It: Citi has an impressive range of security features that help you fight fraud and identity theft. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

Security Features: If your credit card is lost or stolen, Citi will send you a new card for free and provide an emergency cash advance. To protect you online, Citi can issue temporary credit card numbers for secure online purchases. Finally, if you become the victim of identity theft, a Citi specialist will help you contact TransUnion to put a fraud alert on your credit reports and help you complete a police report. Cardholders aren’t held liable for any unauthorized purchase.

Drawbacks: If you use your credit card for “meat and potatoes” spending and rarely use it on a night out, this card won’t deliver as much value.

4. Bank Americard Credit Card

Rewards: None

Signup Bonus: None

Annual Fee: None

APR: 0% intro rate for 15 months, then variable 12.74% to 22.74%

Why We Picked It: Online shopping is safer with Bank of America’s ShopSafe service.

Security Features: With ShopSafe, you can receive temporary credit card numbers to safely shop online. If abnormal spending patterns are detected, Bank of America will block the card’s use and contact you to discuss potential fraudulent activity. You’ll never be held accountable for unauthorized transactions.

Drawbacks: This is a very basic card without any rewards to speak of.

Choosing a Card With Strong Security Features

Federal law states that you can’t be held accountable for more than $50 in unauthorized purchases if your card is stolen. But cardholders concerned with security should look for card issuers that offer zero liability for unauthorized charges.

To further protect yourself, consider cards that go above and beyond in the realm of security and protect you in areas where you may be particularly vulnerable.

If you frequently shop online, you may want a card that offers temporary credit card numbers for limited time use, which stops digital thieves from gaining access to your real card number. If you tend to misplace things and you’re scared of losing your card, you may want a card that lets you easily freeze all activity.

Of course, if your only credit card requirement is security, you should pick a card with the most enhanced protections. But if you also want a card that rewards spending with points or cash back, you’ll want to consider your spending habits and how a card can reward your purchasing behavior.

What Is Required to Get a Card With Security Protections?

Any legitimate credit card should have some security features. Cards with strong security could be available for consumers with credit ranging from poor to excellent. No matter what card you choose, you should know your credit score ahead of time to gauge your chances of approval. Before you apply, you can check two of your credit scores for free at Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Discover it, Blue Cash Everyday from American Express and Citi ThankYou Preferred credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: kali9

Source: credit.com

How Lexington Law Protects Customer Data

Lexington Law Protects Customer Data

It seems like every week or two, another breach of consumer trust comes to light. From government agencies to department stores, banks to social networks, it is clear that criminals and hackers have their sights set on our personal information.

The Equifax data breach, which first came to light in September 2017, affected a mind-boggling 145.5 million Americans. More than half the adult population of the United States found their names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and, in some cases, driver’s license information compromised. Over 209,000 credit card numbers were stolen, as were dispute documents for over 182,000 people.

While the country was still reeling from that situation, Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal hit the headlines. In this case, “only” 87 million people saw their personal data — which they trusted Facebook to protect — shared with unauthorized entities, starting as far back as 2014. Cambridge Analytica collected personal information from millions of unsuspecting Facebook users due to a security flaw in Facebook’s Open Graph framework, which has since been fixed. In this case, the breach would not result in financial loss, but instead, may have potentially impacted Great Britain’s Brexit vote and the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

These and similar events have left an understandably sour taste in many mouths. Sometimes, it feels like there is no one we can really trust. It is important, however, to step back and take in the “big picture” when considering this subject.

At times, there have been errors in the way some organizations have handled the data entrusted to them, and regrettable delays in notifying affected parties. But, by and large, entities whose activity requires access to protected information are making concerted efforts to protect sensitive data on behalf of their customers.

Lexington Law is proud to count ourselves among that number.

What data does Lexington Law collect, and why?

As an organization dedicated to helping individuals improve their credit scores through strategic education, behavioral change, and legal support, we do need to collect a significant amount of sensitive personal information from our customers.

As noted in our official Privacy Policy, our customers “may provide Lexington a variety of personal information, including your name, mailing address, email address, phone number, payment information, and tax identification number.”

Additionally, “Lexington may supplement the personal information you provide with personal information available from other sources, such as public databases, data aggregators, and other commercially available sources.”

In simple terms, this means we need to collect a significant amount of personal identifying information from our customers directly and other sources they have previously used, in order to offer our services. The personal information we collect allows us to access your credit history, review your current credit score and report, and make informed recommendations to help you improve your financial standing. It also allows us to act on your behalf when contacting creditors, or otherwise working for the betterment of your credit situation.

In an effort to continually improve our offerings, “Lexington also may use your personal information for research, development, and analysis, and for advertising, marketing, product and service offerings, security, fraud prevention, and other business activities.”

Who can access our customers’ personal information?

First and foremost, all our customers can access and control their own information by logging into their personal accounts. Most information can be quickly updated and/or deleted at the customer’s discretion, although there are exceptions to this rule where legal or regulatory requirements demand retention.

We will share customer information with commercial partners of Lexington Law, but only with the customer’s express consent, or when our own contractual relationship with these entities guarantees they will maintain the same high standards of confidentiality we demand of ourselves. Outside of those circumstances, the only other release of protected customer data would be in compliance with legal obligation, and then, only when no other option is possible or practical.

How is all that customer data protected?

To keep things clear, we want to include exactly what is stated in our Privacy Policy:

“Lexington takes precautions to safeguard your personal information from loss, theft, and misuse, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction. These precautions include technical, physical, and managerial procedures.

“Lexington uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption on all pages where personal information is collected. This protects the confidentiality of your personal information while it is transmitted over the Internet.

Beyond preventing customer data from falling into the wrong hands, we also want to make sure that data is consistently protected for future access by the customer:

“We work to protect data from accidental or malicious destruction. Accordingly, we may not immediately delete or change residual copies and we may not delete or change information from our backup systems. Unless a disproportionate effort is required, we will provide information access and correction without charge.

What can you do, as a client of Lexington Law, to stay vigilant?

While we take our responsibility to protect your data very seriously, it behooves all consumers to take data security into their own hands as well.

For your own protection, you should always exercise care with the information you share over the Internet. Educate yourself on common identity theft pitfalls and protect yourself against identity theft. For example, always use a secure browser and exercise good judgment in using passwords, such as using a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters, and you should avoid using the same or similar passwords across multiple sites. Be very wary of public Wi-Fi hotspots, and never transmit or access sensitive information when connected to an unsecured network.

Since email and instant messaging are not recognized as secure communications, we will never solicit personal identifying information via these channels. We strongly recommend that you not send private information to us by email or instant messaging services.

Finally, we realize cybercrime is only escalating and identity thieves are always working diligently to figure out new and creative ways to part people and organizations from the personal information we want to protect. Therefore, we regularly review our compliance with our Privacy Policy and enforce safeguards within the company. And, we’re constantly considering our policies and strategies in light of the latest information.

If you are currently a client of Lexington Law, or if you are considering partnering with us to improve your credit situation, you can be confident in our commitment to protecting your data.

You can also carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

Top 3 Scams to Avoid This Holiday Season

Holiday Scams

‘Tis the season — the season for scams.

With more holiday shopping taking place online each year, more online scams are popping up than ever before.

Victims of online scams are at risk of fraud, identity theft, and serious harm to their credit. The FBI reported that total loss from cybercrime in 2016 exceeded $1.3 billion.

That’s why each year, everyone from the FBI to politicians to the Better Business Bureau issues warnings for consumers be on high alert for such scams.

Here are some of the most common ones to avoid this holiday season:

  1. Email and social media scams

You’re probably getting bombarded by marketing emails right now, but be careful what you click. Scam emails may well sneak into the bunch. Some emails will try to direct you back to scammy websites, which could then try to trick you into buying fake products from them in order to give up your banking information.

Another common email scam involves scammers masquerading as a tracking service like UPS or FedEx. They send you phony information about your “recent orders” and ask you to download an attachment or click a phishing link. These could contain malware that scammers use hack into your personal data.

If you’re unsure if a tracking email is a scam, call the company’s customer service line — but only use the number located on its actual website, not one you found in the email.

Also, be cautious of social media promotions or contests. Scammers will sometimes use this method to get you to fill in fake surveys, and then steal your personal information.

  1. Fake charities

Charitable donations tend to spike around the holidays each year. Unfortunately, so do the scams looking to take advantage of the spirit of giving. Fake charities are so common that they regularly appear on the IRS’s annual list of “Dirty Dozen” scams.

Fake charities often design themselves after legitimate organizations, using similar names and page layouts to fool you. You can check if an organization is legitimate on the IRS website. Don’t give out personal information to anyone claiming to represent a charity and solicit donations. And when you do make donations, use a credit card or check rather than cash or wire transfer. They’re easier to recover if the charity ends up being bogus.

  1. Scam job postings

Our spending tends to increase over the holidays, so the idea of making a little extra pocket money may be appealing. But be cautious. Some seasonal employment is completely legitimate, but some postings are created by scam artists who are also trying to get a little extra pocket money — yours.

If a prospective “employer” expects you to spend any cash up front, whether on job training, a start-up kit, or your own inventory — beware. Jobs are supposed to pay you, not the other way around.

If you do become the victim of identity theft or fraud as a result of scammers this holiday season, and your credit takes a hit as a result, Lexington Law can help you with credit disputes and credit restoration. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

How Long Does it Take to Fix Credit After Identity Theft?

Identity theft can be devastating. So you are probably wondering, how long does all of this take to fix? You have worked so hard to keep your credit history perfect and all of the sudden; an identity thief ruins it. The question becomes; how long does it take to fix my credit after identity theft?

Experian, one of the three main credit bureaus, touches on this topic on their blog. They say that fixing your credit after identity theft can take anywhere from a few days to several years to fix. Now, I know that is not necessarily comforting information- but the reason it is so broad is that identity theft can take on a variety of forms!

Truly the time period is based on a number of factors. Knowing which of these situations happened in your particular case of identity theft can help narrow down that broad range of time.

How to Determine How Long it Will Take to Repair Your Credit

Fixing Credit After Identity TheftFixing Credit After Identity Theft

Here are a few things that affect how long it will take for your credit to bounce back after identity theft:

  • Did they use your credit and debit cards?
  • Did they use your social security number to open up new accounts?
  • How long did it take you to notice and report the theft?

Were cards compromised in the theft?

Since this is the most common way that thieves can gain access to your funds, it seems to be the easiest to resolve.  It can be way too easy to lose your credit or debit card, and criminals are way too ready to take your money.

You can read more about protecting yourself against credit card theft, and find out how to report it here.

The basics of reporting card theft go like this:

  • Contact the card issuer; you can use the phone number on the back of the card to do this quickly.
  • Contact the credit bureaus (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax).
  • File an identity theft report with the FTC.
  • Protect yourself against future incidents

Fortunately, card theft is much quicker to resolve and takes a shorter time for your credit to bounce back from! Though it can be increasingly tedious to report, the disputes are typically resolved faster than bigger losses like new accounts opened fraudulently. 

Were new accounts opened fraudulently?

If new accounts were opened in your name, then it can take longer to dispute. The process of closing new accounts, and reporting the fraud can be more time consuming than typical card fraud as mentioned above. This is because there is typically a more substantial loss to you and the institution that loaned out the money. Disputing the accounts opened in your name is the best place to start.

You can get an overview of all open accounts, with a free consultation, by contacting Credit Absolute. This will help you make a list of any accounts you don’t recognize and get to disputing. The same process is followed, of course, when reporting identity theft. Dispute it on your credit report, contact the institution that disbursed the loan, and file a report with the FTC.

This is where the longer time frame comes in when discussing repairing credit after identity theft. It can certainly take longer for disputes to be processed if a new account was involved. Be patient, be methodical about your reporting, and your credit will bounce back in time. 

How long did it take to report the theft?

One of the biggest factors that come up again and again when talking about repairing credit after identity theft is the time it takes to report the theft. In other words, how long did the identity thief have access to your information? If you were able to catch it quickly and report it, your credit will be repaired quicker. However, if you did not catch it for a few months, it will take longer to fix your credit.

To wrap things up in a nice little bow, there is no one clear cut time frame that your credit will be completely repaired after identity theft. It can be anywhere from a few days to a few years. But, if you catch it quickly, and the theft amount was lower overall, then you have a much better chance of repairing your credit sooner.

Source: creditabsolute.com

The LifeLock Security Risk and Why You Should Care

LifeLock Security Risk

In an age where data breaches are common, another company’s data has been exposed. It may come as a shock, but Lifelock, the company that millions of consumers turn to in order to protect their identities, has holes in its security that could potentially lead to more phishing scams and identity theft.

Lifelock’s site security hasn’t updated since 2015, which is a huge issue since technology is always changing making it easy for hackers to access sensitive information such as millions of users’ email addresses.

The holes in Lifelock’s security were discovered by security expert and blogger Brian Krebs. He found a vulnerability on the site that allows anyone to index millions of customer accounts on their web browsers when they unsubscribe from Lifelock’s marketing emails. This makes users vulnerable to any identity thieves out there who might be looking for easy prey. This is a huge disappointment for consumers, who seem to be facing the never-ending nightmare of the potential for identity theft.

Aside from causing headaches and costing lots of money, identity theft can destroy your credit. So where do you turn to for help when you trust a company to protect your sensitive information and they fail you? Luckily, there are trustworthy companies out there that can help you who haven’t been breached, and do everything they can to protect your sensitive information.

Who Can I Trust to Protect My Sensitive Information?

Lexington Law Firm offers credit repair services, but we also offer identity theft protection services. And we make every effort to protect our users’ data, because we understand how important it is. Lexington Law Firm is PCI-DSS and EI3PA compliant. PCI-DSS means that we are constantly maintaining and building a secure network, protecting card-holder data, maintaining a Vulnerability Management Program, implementing Strong Access Control Measures, monitoring and testing networks, and maintaining an Information Security Policy.

The EI3PA is Experian’s Independent Third Party Assessment. This means that we use Multi-Factor Authentication and run vulnerability scans on a quarterly basis, keeping us updated on any new security risks. This means that our users’ data is always secure. The EI3PA is performed by a third-party PCI Qualified Security Assessor. We work with theses third parties to make sure everything is secure.

Lexington Law Firm also has firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, file integrity monitoring, and physical access controls. Plus, we encrypt all sensitive client data. Lexington Law will never sell your sensitive data to any other companies and takes users’ security very seriously. Lexington Law will not ask for any sensitive information via text message or email either.

How Else Can Lexington Law Help Me?

On top of all of that, our credit repair services have helped consumers that have already been affected by identity theft. We have a dedicated team of attorneys and paralegals that will fight for your right to a fair and accurate credit report. We’ve seen removals of negative information on credit reports that was a result of identity theft.

Our clients are also covered under an identity theft insurance policy for as long as they use our services. Not only that, but some of our products include credit monitoring and protection, as well as identity theft restoration. These products allow users to receive alerts anytime there are changes to their accounts – including those that don’t show up on credit reports, such as checking accounts and savings accounts. If you’re looking for a company you can trust to protect your sensitive information, or are in need of credit repair from identity theft, call us today for your free credit consultation.

How Can I Protect My Identity?

Although the experts at Lexington Law are happy to help you with protecting your identity, there are steps that you can also take to protect yourself as well. Here are some precautions you can take:

  • Change your passwords. The longer and more complex the better.
  • Check your credit reports regularly. Doing so will allow you to keep track of what accounts you have and will help you spot fraudulent ones.
  • Keep important documents such as your social security card someplace safe.

Be careful who you provide sensitive information to – if you’re not sure who you’re speaking with, either find a brick and mortar location you can go to or find the correct phone number for the company you’re speaking with on the BBB’s website to call back

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

Can Identity Theft Affect Your Credit?

Identity Theft Affects CreditIdentity Theft Affects CreditHaving your identity stolen is a scary thought that seems all too common these days. What’s really scary about it is what they may be using your identity for and how it can affect you. If someone steals your identity and rents an apartment under your name and then gets evicted, that could affect your ability to rent in the future. They could use your identity for jobs and not pay taxes or get fired which could hurt your employment record and your standing with the IRS. They could even use your information to run up medical or student loan debt.

There are certainly a number of ways that identity theft can affect you but the most common thing affected is your credit. Identity theft can devastate your credit and significantly lower your credit score. This can have a long-term effect on your financial future.

How Identity Thefts Affects Your Credit

Identity thieves will use your information to take out numerous credit cards. The credit inquiries alone, made each time they attempt to open a new account, could take 10 – 20 points off your score. They will max out each credit card they get approved for and never make payments. The credit inquiries, missed payments, increase in debt, and the poor credit utilization (debt to credit ratio) will all damage your credit score considerably.

These actions could make it impossible for you to ever get approved for credit in the future and affect other aspects of your life. Not to mention, the crippling debt that would all be in your name. Identity theft is no joke. Thankfully there are ways to protect yourself against identity theft and repair the damages if it does happen.

To avoid having your identity stolen, you may want to consider identity theft protection. You should also request a copy of your credit report each year to make sure everything is in order and there’s no suspicious activity. Early detection of identity theft can make all the difference.

Need help repairing your credit following an attack from identity thieves? Call Credit Absolute for credit repair assistance. 

Source: creditabsolute.com

What Should I Do If My Identity Is Stolen? Identity Theft Checklist.

One thing that none of us ever wants to deal with is having our identity stolen.  No matter how your identity gets stolen, it is one of the biggest invasions of your privacy to have someone besmirch your good name and trash your credit by making unauthorized purchases, getting fraudulent loans and doing whatever they want with your credit cards, and other personal information.

Because of the rise of social media, and the internet, having your identity stolen has become easier than ever.  Last year the number of victims of identity theft rose 12 percent!

The 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report – released today by Javelin Strategy & Research – found that the number of identity fraud victims in the United States increased 12 percent to 11.1 million adults in 2009, while the total annual fraud amount increased by 12.5 percent to $54 billion

So your chances of having your identity stolen are better than they have ever been – so you need to be ready in case the worst happens to you.   Today I want to go over the things you can do if it happens to you.

identity theft checklist

identity theft checklist

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annualcreditreport.com where you can get a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus every year.  I like to stagger my free credit report requests out every 4 months.  If you prefer to get more regular updates on your credit, you can sign up with one of the three credit bureaus to receive more frequent updates.

  • Don’t give your your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary:  There are times when companies or individuals ask for your social security number when they don’t really need it. Decline to give it unless necessary.
  • Secure your computer: Make sure you have anti-virus software installed, that you have a firewall running, and that you’re careful about what emails you open and links you click on.  If you get rid of your computer, make sure to completely erase any personal information first.
  • Sign up for a credit monitoring service: Pay for a credit monitoring service like Lifelock to help you be proactive about protecting your credit. A free alternative is Credit Sesame where they have free identity theft insurance.
  • What To Do When Your Identity Is Stolen

    Once you’ve discovered strange activity, accounts you didn’t open on your credit report, or other inconsistencies, it’s time to take action. Here are some steps you need to take.

    Contact The 3 Credit Bureaus

    One of the first things you should do is to contact the 3 credit agencies, and ask them to put a fraud  alert on your account.  Also, ask to add a victim’s statement to each of your credit bureau reports asking creditors to call you personally to verify all credit applications made in your name.

    Change All Account Passwords, Get New Account Numbers If Necessary

    Once you’ve found that your information has been compromised, you’ll want to go and make some immediate changes to the passwords on all of your important accounts. Change all of your online credit, savings, checking and other accounts.  If you have cards that may have been compromised, change the PIN number for the account and/or get new account numbers and cards altogether.

    Think someone is using your driver’s license in their identity theft?  Go to the DMV and get a new license and license number.

    You can even contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to get a new SSN.

    Report The Crime

    Report the identity theft to the FTC at (877) 438-4338.  Fill out the ID Theft Affadavit a the FTC’s Web site. make copies and send to creditors. The agency also has an online complaint form.While federal investigators will sometimes only be able to pursue larger, more sophisticated fraud cases, they do monitor identity theft crimes of all levels in the hopes of discovering patterns and breaking up larger rings.

    Report the identity theft to local police department, and give them as much information as you can so that it can be investigated. Give the officers a copy of your ID Theft Affadavit, and ask that it be incorporated into the police report.

    Get a copy of the police report that is filled out so that you can give it to creditors and others as proof that the crime has occurred.

    Contact Your Creditors

    You will also want to contact your current creditors to let them know that your identity has been stolen.  If you’ve found fraudulent transactions on your account, document them and bring them to your creditor’s attention so you won’t be liable to pay them.

    If there are accounts that were opened in your name but are not yours, contact them to close the account, and send them a complaint in writing.  You can also send them a copy of your ID Theft Affadavit and police report as proof of the identity theft.

    Deal With Debt Collections

    If you start receiving collections notices on debts that you did not incur, DON’T pay them.  Instead, send a written notice that you didn’t create the debt, and ask that they send you written validation of the debt. When they do, send them written notice back that you are not liable for the debts and include copies of your ID Theft Affadavit and police report so they know it is legitimate.  Also ask them to confirm in writing that you are not liable for the debts, and that the account will be closed.

    Conclusion

    Having your identity stolen is never fun, and if it happens to you it could really take over your life for a while until things are resolved.  If you remember to do everything mentioned above, however, you can help to minimize the damage done, and make sure you aren’t held liable for debts that you didn’t incur.

    Do you have any suggestions of your own, or ID theft horror stories to share with everyone else?  Tell us about it in the comments!

    Source: biblemoneymatters.com

    How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

    Protecting Against Identity TheftYou can’t ignore the dangers of identity theft in the digital age. Online management of financial resources has made consumers more vulnerable to hackers and imposters. According to a statement by the Insurance Information Institute, 16.7 million cases of identity theft were reported in 2017. These numbers are not going to decrease any time soon. 30% of US consumers experienced a data breach last year. The US government and consumers should work together to curb the rising crime of identity theft.

    What is Modern Day ID Theft?

    A data breach or identity theft is an illegal attempt to use someone else’s credentials for fraudulent activities. The US government recognizes identity theft as a Federal crime. Anyone found guilty of identity theft in the US could face jail time of 1-7 years. Identity theft has become a grave concern for consumers. The Consumer Sentinel Network maintains a record of consumer fraud and identity theft in the US. According to them, they received 3 million complaints in 2018 related to identity theft and fraud.

    How does Identity Theft Work?

    Thieves steal personal data from consumers through various tricks. These tricks range from acquiring bank statements from the mailbox to hacking and online scams. This information gives the thieves access to financial and social accounts of the victims. They use the compromised credentials to gain access to financial accounts.

    What is The Use of Stolen Identities

    Theives have the intention of using the breached information for fraudulent activities. Imposters use compromised data in the following events.

    • Opening of new financial accounts
    • Getting access to the existing financial accounts
    • Insurance fraud
    • Online shopping from victim’s account
    • Selling victim’s information in the Black Net
    • Using the victim’s identity in criminal activities

    Protection from Identity Theft

    Identity theft brings a string of interconnected losses and disappointments for victims and their families. It is better to take preventative measures beforehand to protect your data from identity thieves. Identity protection aims to add a series of complicated steps in getting personal information. Remember that identity thieves alway seek easy targets. Anything that does not play by their rules discourages them. You can strategically protect your data by taking these steps.

    Use Strong and Different Passwords

    Unprotected houses are always robbed first of their valuable items. Similarly, a computer or financial accounts without a strong password attracts identity thieves. A survey report by Experian states that 50% of total US citizens do not add password protection to their digital devices. Lack of password protection makes people an easy target for identity theft.

    Moreover, do not make the mistake of using a single password for all of your social and financial accounts. Imposters are going to try their luck on each of your accounts. That is why using different passwords ensures safety to your accounts.

    Maintain a Record of Your Financial Activities

    Your bank accounts and e-wallets contain your wealth; leaving their activities unrecorded is not a wise move. It is a little difficult for anyone to remember all of their transactions. However, maintaining a record is essential for the protection of your data, and it doesn’t take a lot of time if maintained regularly.

    Identity thieves do not make big moves initially. They make gradual advances to take over your financial accounts. A single suspicious transaction can give you a clue of possible theft of your identity.

    Avoid Clicking on Malicious Links

    Thieves lure their targets by sending them malicious links in emails and text messages.  Breached data gives the hackers control of most of your existing accounts. They can also order new services for them by using your name and money. Never enter your login or bank details to an insecure site. Doing so can make access to your information easy for hackers.

    Never Give Away Sensitive Information About Your Financial Accounts On Phone Calls

    A call from customer service asking for your PIN Code or social security number is an alarm bell. Nowadays, banks educate consumers to avoid giving login details to anyone on a call. A true representative of your financial institution will never ask sensitive information about your financial accounts.

    Thieves seeking information pretend to be part of financial institutions. In the case of getting a suspicious call contact your financial institution and report the suspicious call.

    Protect Your Documents with Personal Details

    Do not leave hard copies of bank statements and credit card details in your mailbox because ID thieves do not spare your mailbox. For tackling mailbox theft, you can instruct your bank to send soft copies of your bank statements. Moreover, by using the option of particular instructions, you can also fix the delivery time of your documents. In short, never give a chance to the thieves to steal away your information.

    Source: creditabsolute.com