Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Where do you turn after you find out your social security number has been stolen?

As a member of LifeLock since 2012 at about $89/yr, I was not concerned about my social security number being stolen because they would tell me that it was being used or stolen.  But when I thought about it, it was sort of like a smoke alarm.  It tells me there is smoke, but I have to do something to figure out where the smoke is coming from, and then if there really is a fire, I have to put it out or call the fire department to come and put it out, then call the insurance co to report a claim, then hire a contractor to repair the damage done.  I asked LifeLock if their service would take care of fixing my identity once it has been compromised, and the answer was surprisingly no.

After hearing too many stories now related to credit repair, and learning of the the hours of calls and copies of records and the general damage that can be done to your reputation from a breach of secure data, I decided to check out costs on something called fraud restoration services.  There is a company, Kroll Fraud Solutions Group working through LegalShield, that specializes in actually restoring a person's identity with law enforcement, federal trade commission, social security administration, IRS, motor vehicle administration/DMVs around the country, creditors and the reporting bureaus, medical insurance companies and others.  They fix everything about a person's compromised identity after a breach occurs with an insurance policy that includes a power of attorney upon discovering a breach so they can represent you and fix what's been damaged for a low price of around $15/mo. The plan is called Identity Theft Shield which is an insurance policy that saves people close to 600 hours.

The fact that we rely on our social security number, address, phone number and drivers license number for identification is scary.  It is easy enough to compromise that data and assume someone's identity by either creating or obtaining a fake driver's license (someone else's picture, on your name and license number and use that when pulled over by cops or involved in more serious crimes).  If not sure about how easy it is, ask any 16 year old in this country if they know someone who can get them or make a fake ID for enough money.  In most states, driver's licenses or occupational licenses are obtained through published procedures and can be compromised by simply figuring out how to defeat the system's process. 

We rely on the security of our private data, and if it is breached, find we have a lot of hoops to jump through to fix it.  There are numerous news stories and ample crime data that shows identity theft crime is far more prevalent and lucrative for organized criminals to trade in identity theft then it is to engage in the actual trafficking of illegal drugs.  This crime has been growing at the fastest pace for the last 10 years or more, and most Americans are oblivious to the risk to their children's social security number, driver's license number or their own data until they are faced with evidence of a data breach and are then looking at about 600 hours of time on the phone, emails, regular mail, and filing reports and following up on those filings to fix the issue.

I was very pleased with the peace of mind that came with the Identity Theft Shield which covers my whole family including spouse, minors and unmarried children up to age 26 not living at home if they are enrolled in school full time, or up to age 26 unmarried if they are still living at home for the same $15.  LifeLock is $89/yr per person or social security number.  For the peace of mind that comes with this insurance, I feel better about sharing it with people.  You can learn more at by completing the quiz questions related to identity theft and be taken to more information to learn more about it and sign up.  Or just click here to learn more.