Every year hundreds of millions of individuals get their birthdates and social security numbers hacked through no fault of their own.
From the local doctor’s office to the large retailer Target… from the US government to most recently, the Equifax hacking, identify theft has become a common occurrence in life as we become more automated.
There are four things we should know about identity theft:
1) Your TD Ameritrade brokerage accounts are 100% insured for theft from unauthorized parties. This is one of the many reasons why we use TDA as our custodian of choice. In addition, our firm monitors each account for suspicious activity.
2) You are not financially responsible for credit cards or loans opened by others in your name… but it will take you significant time to clean up the mess.
3) For $20 or less a month, you can sign up for a credit monitoring service like www.identityforce.com, idwatchdog.com or lifelock.com. Each provides real time feed back via text, email, phone call or mail on activity related to your identity.
4) You can put a “credit freeze” on your account with the big three credit services: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax (especially humorous knowing Equifax was just hacked). Unfortunately, this will slow down the process of acquiring a new home or car loan.
Although there is no perfect way to prevent or protect your personal information, knowing these four things will empower you to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.