Introducing ReclaimMyID

At a time when data breaches are exposing hundreds of millions of individual’s personal information to the wild, there is no better time to understand and develop an identity recovery plan for how you might respond in the event your identity gets stolen.  Like any crime, identity theft is certainly not something folks like or even want to think about, but it’s really become necessary due to the volume, increased frequency, and detail of personal information being exposed.  It’s also important to keep in mind, while large data breaches capture the headlines, there are incidents occurring everyday of a much smaller scale which can also expose one’s personal information and are equally capable of leading to a stolen identity.

Since there is no way to completely prevent identity theft and the frequency of incidents exposing individuals private information, having a plan to recover one’s identity should it be compromised has really become unavoidable.  While there are online resources such as to help guide a person on how to respond should their identity be stolen, it is ultimately left in the hands of the individual to perform the identity recovery.  These identity recovery efforts can take days, months, or even years and can consume precious hours of one’s time.  Having a partner with the knowhow of identity recovery is the greatest benefit of our ReclaimMyID service. By signing up for ReclaimMyID before your identity is stolen, you’ll have a place to turn should you or a family member experience an identity theft event, and save those precious hours and headaches associated with self-recovery.  ReclaimMyID will assign a dedicated expert who fully manages the recovery of your identity on your behalf in the event its stolen.  In addition, the ReclaimMyID experts will not stop until your identity is restored to pre theft status and keeps your case on file for three years to address any recurrence as long as you remain a member.

Bank Account Fraud

Bonnie and Clyde-style bank robberies are no longer the preferred method for today’s thieves. Identity theft is now the most common way to steal from a bank. In fact, a 2003 FTC report estimated identity theft-related losses for financial institutions at $47 billion, far more than the $77 million lost to traditional bank robberies.

Banks are fighting back with ever-improving security methods to detect and deter fraud, and you can take steps to protect yourself as well.

How ID is Stolen

Identity thieves are constantly refining their methods, but most stick to simple, tried-and-true strategies. To acquire the personal information needed to break into your bank accounts, thieves may simply steal your checks or your mail or “dumpster-dive” into your garbage to find account statements and other discarded paperwork that contains personal information.

Sometimes thieves don’t have to take our information — we give it to them. E-mail scams known as “phishing” trick people into giving away their account numbers, Social Security numbers and other sensitive details over the Internet. Other people give out their information to telemarketers who call to ask for “identity verification” or claim to be giving away a prize or offering a new credit card.

For consumers who fall victim to these scams, the “prize” they receive isn’t what they expected.

How Thieves Use Your ID

Once thieves acquire your personal information, they can use it to take over your checking, savings or other account. They can create counterfeit checks with your account information printed on them. They can also add their information to your account, changing the mailing address or making other alterations to give themselves unlimited access. If thieves have your Social Security number and date of birth, they can also open accounts in your name to launder checks from an unlimited number of new accounts.

Of course, checks are just one way for you (and, potentially, identity thieves) to take money out of a bank. ATM and debit cards are another avenue for thieves. If they physically steal your cards, you’re likely to notice fairly quickly. The more insidious crime is “skimming,” which occurs when a thief captures your account number and PIN without actually stealing your card, so you may not find out for weeks or months that a crime has taken place.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Use a locked mailbox or P.O. box to prevent mail theft.
  • Shred unused or old checks, as well as any other documentation containing personal information that you plan to discard. Most banks will shred your old checks for free if you take them in.
  • Whenever possible, leave your checkbook and deposit slips at home, in a secure, locked location.
  • If you want to continue to use checks, recognize that anyone receiving them has access to your checking account information, so use them only with merchants you trust.
  • Do not have your Social Security number or driver’s license number printed on checks. You may want to consider listing only your first initial and last name instead of your full name.
  • Never give out your account numbers over the phone except on rare occasions when you know the company and understand why the information is necessary.
  • Monitor your account activity periodically, and check your monthly account statements closely. Report any discrepancies or errors immediately to your bank, both orally and in writing. The law generally protects you only for the first 60 days after your statement is mailed.
  • If you have trouble opening a new checking account or are concerned for other reasons that you may be the victim of identity theft, request a free copy of your consumer report from Chex Systems Inc. ( The reports contain specific information about your checking accounts. If the information is inaccurate, Chex Systems shows you how to dispute it.
  • Find a safe place to store a list of your account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers for every card issuer so you can report losses and other problems quickly.
  • When creating PINs, do not use numbers easily associated with you, such as your birthday or anniversary.
  • Don’t write your PIN on the card or anywhere in your purse or wallet.
  • Cut up old debit and credit cards, cutting through the account number before you discard them.

Your Children’s Identity

Your young child doesn’t own a credit card (that you know of). He or she certainly doesn’t drive. There is no identity to steal, right?

Not true. Even your adorable two-year-old with the runny nose has what a potential thief wants: an unblemished identity. All it takes is a Social Security number, and, in some cases, a birth certificate. It’s so easy to steal a child’s good name that an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 children were identity theft victims in 2005.

How a Child’s ID is Stolen

Children are good targets for identity theft because their credit is probably not monitored at all. The crime may not be discovered until years later when the young adult can’t get a credit card or driver’s license, open a bank account, or apply for a college or car loan. What makes this problem even more tragic is that many identity thieves are the people who should be protecting children: parents, relatives, or family acquaintances. This may be especially true in cases of divorce.

How Thieves Use Your Child’s ID

A perpetrator will steal a child’s identity for a number of reasons; one of the most common is to establish new lines of credit. What’s scary here, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, is that, especially with phone and Internet applications, the “credit issuers may not have a way to verify the age of the applicant.”

A child’s ID may also be stolen for criminal identity purposes, such as to apply for a driver’s license or as an alias when a person faces arrest. A third purpose for child ID theft is “identity cloning,” in which a child’s identity is sold on the black market to the highest bidder.

Some Tips for How to Protect Your Child

Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your children from identity theft:

  • Try to check your child’s credit report yearly. Technically, your child shouldn’t even have a credit report until he or she begins using credit as an adult. If a report is available, it could indicate ID theft.
  • Shred all documents with Social Security numbers or account information before disposing of them.
  • Be wary of people or places that ask for your child’s birth certificate or Social Security number: coaches, doctor’s offices, etc. Medical insurers should have changed to a system that uses assigned numbers rather than a Social Security number for the member ID.
  • Teach your child to never give out personal information over the phone.
  • Never divulge personal information about your child over the Internet unless you know it is safe to do so.
  • Encourage students to keep wallets and purses safe and to hide away personal information (even roommates or friends can be threats).
  • Don’t keep your child’s Social Security number in your wallet. Lock up your family’s personal information, such as Social Security cards, passports, and birth certificates.
  • If you suspect that your minor child’s information has been used fraudulently, you should contact the credit reporting agencies directly and also report the illegal use of your child’s information to law enforcement. Be prepared to supply each credit-reporting agency with your child’s complete name, address, date of birth and a copy of the minor child’s birth certificate and Social Security card. You will also be asked to provide proof of your identity via a copy of your driver’s license or other government-issued proof of your identity, which includes your current address, and a current utility bill containing your current address. (Source: com)

Criminal Identity Theft

ID theft can lead to devastating financial losses, but it can also cause even more serious damage. Thieves who commit fraud and other crimes in your name can leave you with a criminal record or even possible jail time.

How ID’s may be stolen

Criminals can acquire your personal information in any number of ways: via lost or stolen personal papers, credit cards or ID cards, through Internet or phone scams, or by buying your information from other thieves.

How Thieves Use Your ID

Criminals may use your name when committing a crime. For example, they might solicit funds for a false charity or advertise a fake product or business using your name. Criminals may also use fake ID with your name when caught by authorities, for example, for traffic violations. Either way, you’re the one left with the legal troubles when law enforcement comes looking for the guilty party. And proving after the fact that you’re innocent can take many months and significant sums of money spent on legal fees.

Some Tips for How to Protect Yourself

Protect yourself against criminal ID theft by guarding all the avenues thieves have to reach your personal information:

  • Never discard personal information intact or leave it where thieves can find it.
  • Follow all the rules to secure your computers, networks, and Internet communications.
  • Be watchful for phone and mail scams. Make sure organizations and their representatives are legitimate before ever giving personal information.
  • Be careful of sharing personal information in a public place where thieves can observe you.
  • Make photocopies of the fronts and backs of your credit cards, driver’s license, and passport and store the copies someplace other than your wallet in case of theft.
  • Monitor credit report, bills, and other communications for any sign of unauthorized usage.
  • If you have reason to believe information has been stolen, report it promptly. If you suspect criminal ID theft, you can also get a background check on yourself and look for any false reports.