How Much Do You Really Know About Identity Theft?

Take the Identity Theft Challenge

Most of us think we know how to keep ourselves protected from identity theft. The problem is, for every 50 people who think they've got it covered, only 5 really do. Do you really know what you need to? These questions and answers will show you the truth.

The Password Game

How should you determine what your Internet passwords are? If you said choosing things other people wouldn't know, like the last four digits of your social or your best friend's maiden name, you're wrong.

The safest Internet passwords are passwords generated by a password randomizer, containing a string of random letters and numbers. Someone may know more than you think about you, giving them access to passwords with personal info. Random passwords, however, have no rhyme or reason.

Looking for the Signs

Do victims of identity theft start seeing bills in the mail as soon as their identities are stolen? Nope! But people think that's a sure sign to look for.

The fact of the matter is that creditors won't be calling for months (or even more than a year) after the damage has been done. The only way to catch identity theft at the beginning is by checking your credit report frequently. That's why credit monitoring services are so valuable.

The Services

Speaking of credit monitoring services, can they completely prevent you from becoming an identity theft victim? The answer to that question is no. Yes, they can help nip the crime in the bud and minimize the damage experienced because of it, but no service (no matter how good) can completely stop you from falling victim to the crime.

The Government Should Do It

Does the law protect you from identity theft? Yes and no. Yes, there are laws against it. But there are also laws against murder and muggings. You wouldn't walk through a horrible neighborhood in a $3,000 suit with your wallet in your hand, would you? Then don't "walk around" on the Web without protecting yourself from potential identity theft scams.

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