Data breaches. Identity theft. Phishing scams. Short of going off the grid, it seems like there's no way for your information to stay safe. The latest way that your data could have been exposed to hackers and phishers? Lifelock – the company that millions of consumers trust to protect their identities.
Lifelock wasn't breached, but security experts outside the company did find a bug that made millions of customers' emails vulnerable to any would-be hackers. If hackers had discovered this, then it could have led to identity theft and phishing scams for millions of users that trusted the company to protect them. Besides costing endless hours and hundreds or thousands of dollars to fix, identity theft can ruin your credit. If Lifelock is supposed to protect you from this sort of thing, it begs the question – is your information safe? Or are you vulnerable?
What You Can Do
In order to protect your identity, there are several steps you can take.
Change your passwords. The longer and more complex your passwords, the better. If you can add symbols, this can be really helpful, like @ for 'a' or 3 for the letter 'e.' This makes it more difficult for hackers to figure out your passwords. It's also best to use different passwords for every account, and that you update them periodically.
Be careful about who you share your information with. If you receive a call from someone asking you to share personal private information, make sure it's a legitimate request. You can always hang up and find a phone number online for the company that's calling you. You also don't want to share information in public places, and want to make sure you're somewhere private. You never know if someone is listening to your conversation.
Store information somewhere safe. Some people carry around their social security cards in their wallets. This is not advisable. Store important documents at home in a safe or a locked desk. Other such documents include your passport and your birth certificate.
Sign up for a different credit monitoring service. It is disappointing to hear that Lifelock had a bug that could have exposed so many of its users to identity theft or phishing scams. Not all monitoring services are bad though. Experian, one of the three credit bureaus offers monitoring services to make sure your credit information is safe. Experian's monitoring services provide you with fraud resolution and identity theft insurance. Experian also provides alerts and Dark Web Surveillance and alerts. Plus, Experian offers CreditLock – feature that allows you to freeze your credit file. Freezing your credit keeps identity thieves from opening new accounts under your name.
What Can I Do if I've Already Been a Victim of Identity Theft?
Fortunately, Lifelock caught the bug before anything happened, but other breaches have placed consumers' information in danger, such as the Equifax breach in 2017. If you don't have any sort of credit monitoring service now, it's a good idea to consider it. You can also place fraud alerts or credit freezes on your credit reports by contacting the credit bureaus.
If your credit score has suffered damage due to identity theft, then credit repair is a good option. Although this is something that you can do yourself, there are reputable companies out there that can help you, like Lexington Law Firm. They will evaluate your credit reports from all three credit bureaus and dispute the negative items. They will take away the hassle of having to do the work yourself, and take your identity theft into consideration when challenging negative items with the credit bureaus. If you've a victim of identity theft and need credit repair, contact them today for a free credit consultation.