10 Ways To Prevent Identity Theft While Traveling Abroad

travel-id-theft

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes and thieves are smart enough to use many advanced tactics to steal personal data and money by taking advantage of your carelessness while traveling abroad. As a traveler, you’re usually more focused on having fun, but it’s important that you know the different, unsuspecting ways that you can become a victim and how you can prevent it from happening to you.

 

Here are some simple but very helpful steps to follow on how to avoid becoming an ID theft victim while traveling abroad:

 

  • 1. Keep your personal data updated and secured in a protected cloud service such as Snap Secure.

snap secure

  • 2. Use credit cards and traveler’s checks and try to avoid using debit cards. Keep credit card numbers and traveler’s check numbers in a safe place.
  • 3. Never give out personal information on the phone.
  • 4. Keep track of bank and credit card statements. If you’re not receiving them on a monthly basis or you see charges that shouldn’t be there, contact them immediately and request prompt action.
  • 5. Do not put your wallet in your back pocket. Put your wallet in your front pocket or use a money pouch. If you must use a purse, carry it close to your body, holding the top closed and keep it on the front of your body.

pickpocket

  • 6. Use secure wireless networks. The free Wi-Fi networks at cafes, hotel lobbies, and other public places are notoriously unsecured because they do not have the data-encryption protections that closed networks have.
  • 7. Be smart and protect your phone with a home-screen-locking password. We often store a lot of data on our smartphones: text messages with personal information, emails, photos, and important travel information such as boarding passes and itineraries.

home screen lock

  • 8. Use cash more frequently. When traveling, always keep cash and cards on hand. Use credit cards at airports, major chains, and shops that clearly use secure payment systems. Again, avoid using your debit card if you can.
  • 9. While abroad, don’t use your passport as your primary identification. Lock up your passport in the hotel room safe and use a driver’s license or an international ID for places of admission.

Hotel-Safe

  • 10. Avoid being pickpocketed by being aware of your surroundings. Pickpocketers usually work in teams of 2′s or 3′s. One of them will bump into you or drop something in front of you or make a loud noise or do anything to cause a distraction. Once you have been distracted, the other pickpocketer will steal your valuables and walk away nonchalantly.

 

If somebody does manage to steal your identity, then you need to find out about it in the earliest stages possible so you can take immediate action before things get completely out of control. Keep in mind that there are many more preventive measures, these are just some of the most common and important tips you can apply to successfully prevent identity theft from happening to you.  To completely protect yourself from any ID theft mishaps, identity theft protection is always available.

 

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Snap Secure – Free Mobile Security App

snap secure - mobile security app

What is Snap Secure?

Protect Your Bubble has teamed up with Snap One to provide you with an all-in-one mobile data security app known as Snap SecureWhether you need to keep your personal information safe in the cloud, track a family member’s location, or protect your smartphone from harmful viruses – Snap Secure does it all.  Now it is being offered for free with the purchase of an Identity Theft Protection plan from PYB.

 

Why do I need Snap Secure?

The important things in your life require constant protection.  Your family members, personal data, and devices deserve the utmost security.  Snap Secure safeguards what matters most, around the clock, 24/7.

snap secure - mobile anti-virus app

What do I get with Snap Secure?

You get Snap Secure’s 16-Point Security Perimeter:

 

1. Family & Device Location Tracking – Get real time device and family member location tracking for immediate peace of mind.

 

2. Driver Safety – Receive instant notifications when a family member is texting, calling, or browsing the web while driving.

 

3. Footprints – View device location history with the GPS functionality.

 

4. Safety Zones – Set up virtual safety zones to receive alerts when a registered device moves in or out of a designated geographic area.

 

5. Panic Button – Set up a Panic Button on every device to automatically call 911, or alert an emergency contact of your location by e-mail, phone, or text message.

 

6. Complete Family Protection – Add up to 6 family members and an unlimited number of devices to one account.

 

7. Cloud Backup & Restoration – Get 100 GB of cloud storage under one account to keep your contacts, calendars, messages, e-mails, and more automatically safe with routine backups.  If you lose a device, your files can be easily restored to a new smartphone.

 

8. AntivirusBitdefender’s #1 ranked antivirus solution automatically scans for data-mining viruses, spyware, and malware.  Set up routine scans to run daily, weekly, or monthly.

 

9.  App Transparency – See which applications on your device are accessing your personal information.  Update permissions and manage restrictions from any of your devices.

 

10. Privacy & Spam Controls – Special filters put you in control of your personal information and blocks unwanted communication.

 

11. Call & Text Monitoring – Keep tabs on the call, text, and application download activity of every registered device on your account.

 

12. Easy Web Access – The Snap Secure platform can be accessed through any web browser, allowing you to conveniently manage all of your family’s devices from virtually any smartphone, tablet, or computer.

 

13. Device Locate – View the location of your missing device on a map, or trigger an audio ping alert to find it nearby, even if your phone is on silent.

 

14. Lock & Wipe – Remotely lock or wipe your device to make sure your files stay safe and unreadable by anyone but you.

 

15. Remote Camera Control – Remotely activate your device’s camera to get an image, of who (or what) is on the other side of your smartphone, sent to your e-mail inbox.

 

16. SIM Guardian – Automatically receive an alert and activate a device lockdown if a foreign SIM card is detected on your smartphone.

 


 

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The Rising Cost of Identity Theft

id theft

It has become common to hear about identity theft practically every day. In the last decade, cases of identity theft have been all over the news. With such wide spread media coverage and new technologies that aid in id theft protection, you would think that this type of crime should be less prevalent. But the truth is, cases of identity theft are still on the rise.

 

Identity Theft Statistics

 

The latest statistics from Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2014 Identity Fraud Study reported that a new identity fraud victim was hit every two seconds in America in 2013, with the number of victims climbing to 13.1 million over the year. This is an uptick of more than 500,000 victims since 2012. Javelin’s report was conducted for the past 11 years and drew on responses from 5,634 consumers to identify the impacts of fraud nationwide.

 

Javelin-identity-theft-victims

While the number of victims increased year over year, the amount of defrauded money decreased by $3 billion to $18 billion compared to 2012. “In 2012, we had a big spike in new fraud with a high average fraud amount,” said Al Pascual of Javelin Strategy & Research, “but in 2013, that was pushed down with criminals shifting into existing card fraud.” He also gave credit to the progression in the financial industry, because of the improvements of detecting new instances of fraud there was a noticeable drop in compromised funds as criminals have had a harder time creating new fraudulent accounts.

 2014_Identity_fraud_research_javelin

Identity Theft Growing and Becoming More Costly to Victims

 

According to recent figures from the U.S. Department of Justice, credit card data theft skyrocketed and increased 50% from 2005 to 2010. An estimated 16.6 million people, representing 7 percent of all persons age 16 or older in the United States, experienced at least one incident of identity theft in 2012. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released an eye-opening report finding identity theft cost Americans $10 billion more last year than all other property crimes measured by the National Crime Victimization Survey. Losses for household motor vehicle theft, burglary, and property theft totaled $14 billion whereas identity theft cost Americans a staggering $24.7 billion in 2012.

 

identity-theft-BJS

The BJS’s also reports the most common way victims discovered the identity theft in 2012 was when a financial institution contacted them about suspicious activity on an account. About 2 out of 3 victims did not know how the offender obtained their information, and 9 out of 10 did not know anything about the identity of the offender. People whose names were used to open new accounts were more likely to experience financial hardship, emotional distress, and even problems with their relationships, than people whose existing accounts were manipulated.  In addition, Americans who were in households making $75,000 or more were more likely to experience identity theft than lower-income households.

 

 

Penalties for ID Theft Conviction

 

The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act has been in place for more than 7 years. This law passed in July 2006 increases existing penalties for the crime of identity theft, establishing “aggravated identity theft” as a criminal offense, defined as using stolen identity to commit a crime. This adds two to five years of prison time to the penalties depending if aid and assistance was given to terrorists or terrorism groups.

 

identity-theft-credit-card

In the last 10 years, transactions over the internet continued to be one of the top cases of identity theft. College students have become particularly vulnerable due to the use of unsecured wireless networks. ID theft isn’t limited to the internet however. A large number of cases come from people responding to fraudulent phone solicitations and mail fraud. Theft of personal information from company databases and POS devices have also lead to an increase in identity theft fraud, such as the ones from Target and Neiman Marcus.

 

The best option to shield yourself from identity theft is to use a specialized identity theft protection solution with comprehensive coverage and monitoring.

 


 

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Infographic of the Day: Identity Theft During Tax Season

The 2014 tax filing deadline is quickly approaching.  The last day to submit your tax return is Tuesday, April 15.  For you last minute filers, be mindful of tax scams that prey on people who are hastily filing their taxes before the deadline.  Protect Your Bubble has compiled some important identity theft facts and protection tips, presented in beautiful infographic format!

 Identity Theft Infographic - Tax Season

 

Interesting points from the infographic:

  • In 2013, the IRS started 1,492 criminal investigations related to identity theft, up 66% from the previous year.
  • Identity theft cases related to tax season are up 43% since 2010.
  • Since 2012, the IRS has stopped 14.6 million suspicious tax returns.
  • Identity Theft cases rise during tax season.  Protect Your Bubble data shows that these cases are typically 14% higher in March and 21% higher in April.

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Can Paying My Taxes Affect My Credit Score?

credit score taxes

Tax time is a stressful time. Do you worry that tax issues will spill over to your credit reports and affect your credit score? The good news is that owing the IRS doesn’t affect your credit score, but how you choose to pay your taxes does.

 
The following are 4 ways that you can pay your tax bill and the implications to your credit score:

 

Personal Loan

If you apply for a loan to settle a large tax bill, the personal loan amount and your monthly payment record will be reflected in your credit reports. Note that the fact that you applied for a loan will count as an inquiry into your credit score and this will lower your credit score as well, but the drop is merely temporary. If you are considering applying for a personal loan, you should begin by assessing your credit strengths and weaknesses. You can minimize loan applications by first determining a lender’s minimum credit score requirements. Choose a lender with credit requirements that will match your credit score.

 

Credit CardCredit-cards

Having a large credit line is an advantage for most people. Charging a tax bill can be an option for credit card holders. If you’re already consuming a large amount of your available credit, there will be consequences to your credit score. Charging a credit that is nearing its limit can impact your credit utilization ratio. This measures about 30% of your overall credit score.

 

Installments

Paying a tax bill by IRS installment agreements will not affect your credit score in any way. This is because installment agreements are not reported to credit reporting agencies.

 

Tax Lien

If you owe a large amount of taxes or if you fail to resolve your debt quickly, the IRS will issue you a tax lien which will reflect on your credit reports.  Tax liens fall into the negative category, alongside collection accounts or bankruptcy. Unless you take the necessary steps to get this withdrawn, these can stay on your credit report for 7 years after the tax liability is resolved. If successful, your credit scores could rise significantly, provided that the rest of the information on your reports is positive. Fortunately, the IRS has made some changes to its tax lien policies, making it easier for taxpayers to get liens withdrawals after paying their tax bills.

 

When deliberating on how to pay your taxes, best give your credit score a look. Armed with this information, it will be easier to determine which payment method is best suited for your current financial situation. Whatever the case, it is always a good idea to continually monitor your credit.
 
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How Identity Theft Affects Your Taxes

Cases of identity theft continue to rise, alarming more people during tax season. Fortunately, the IRS has expanded its capabilities to prevent fraudulent returns. This is their top priority as they are now more prepared to prevent cases of identity theft as soon as possible. They employ more than 3,000 people and train 35,000 employees to recognize identity theft as soon as it occurs.

 

Identity theft is a case of deception. This happens when someone uses your own personal identification to commit crimes. Your credit cards, Social Security Number and other identification can be stolen and used for different purposes without you being aware of it.

 

Identity theft actually causes you to pay more taxes. You would eventually notice the crime only after it was done. A good example of which is when you are expecting a refund but it gets delayed. The thieves may have used your information to file fraudulent refund claims. To protect you from identity theft, here are few practices you should do:

 

  1. Never give out any information especially when it is not necessary. If someone asks you to give your ITIN or SSN, be sure to know why it is needed.
  2. Keep all of your personal information in a safe place. When keeping it at home, be sure to keep it somewhere out of reach.
  3. Your computer can be a source of theft. Be sure to use antivirus programs that will protect you from malicious activity.
  4. Every year, check your credit report. It should be consistent with the previous records that you maintain.
  5. It’s a good idea to not carry your Social Security Card with you. Leave it in a safe, secure place.

 

If you received a notice from the IRS, be sure to respond as soon as you can. The IRS has trained professionals to determine if a certain account is suspected to have fraudulent claims. You should respond with your name and the number included in the notice. Also, an Identity Theft Affidavit should be filled-out along with your reply. This can be downloaded at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf.

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The Top 2 Things You Need to Know to Protect Your Safety Online

Identity theft is one of the major concerns today. Every minute, there is an approximate number of 19 victims and has reached 9.9 million a year, according to a report published by the Federal Trade Commission. This alarming rate has everyone deeply concerned with the financial security. With the continuous advancement of convenient purchases, identity theft has become an opportunity for thieves to steal money easily. Prioritizing your safety online and the safety of your loved ones should be your primary concern. Here are 2 of the most important ways to protect yourself:

 

1.       Create a strong password

 

Protecting your safety online does not only limit to your online or credit card purchases. Your personal identity can also be hacked and used for different cybercrimes. A good example of these is your email. Your email is your way of communication with different people, so it has to be secured in the sense that only you can access it. The most common incident of email hacking is when your email is being used for different purposes. The hacker may send messages to your contact list stating that you needed money for an emergency situation.

 

To create a strong password, make sure that it contains numbers, symbols and letters. It should not contain anything related to you like your name, birthday, company name and other previous passwords. You can also consider using ASCII characters.

 

2.       Protect Your Online Purchases and Credit Cards

 

The most important consideration in prioritizing your safety online is the way you purchase an item. When doing some shopping online, be sure that the website has a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. To easily determine if a website is secure, look at the address bar and see if it is an ‘HTTPS’ instead of ‘HTTP.’

 

Never ever divulge any information without being sure that it came from a legitimate site. Further, never ever send any personal information through your email. There are thousands of scammers waiting patiently for their next victim, and you can be one of them. Secure your safety online and never be a victim of identity theft.

 

For more information, visit Protect Your Bubble’s ID Theft services today.

 

Also, to see a simulated hacking experience on Facebook, check out http://protectyourprofile.org/ now.

 

Additional Source:

http://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/identity-theft-and-fraud/identity-theft-facts.page

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3 Tips for Protecting Yourself Safety Online

Today, most people love the convenience of doing their business online.  This includes personal banking, shopping and paying bills just to name a few. Making transactions online, however, requires you enter some very valuable and potentially risky personal information.  These includes data such as your:

 

  • Full name
  • Card number
  • Address
  • Social security number

 

While most of the companies (we hope!) perform legitimate business online, there are people waiting to get their hands on your personal information and identity details for ID theft, scamming and other fraudulent activities. As a result of this, you must be careful with what you do with your information.

To protect yourself and keep the risk at a minimum, you should always:

 

  1. Monitor and track your financial accounts – you can ensure that your privacy is protected by updating your bankbooks frequently and dedicating specific dates to speak to your personal banker.  If there is any questionable activity on your accounts then it is best to realize sooner than later so that the damage will not be extensive.
  2. Don’t let your card out of your site – if you are at the store and you decide to pay for your purchase with your card then try to avoid leaving it on the counter even to scratch your head. Do not risk anyone viewing your card number or any other details that are written on it.  People are able to use the smallest bit of information to commit cyber crimes.
  3. Avoid storing passwords in your phone or writing pin numbers on paper. It is true that numbers are hard to remember, especially when you have multiple cards. As a result many of us write this stuff down, even when we know better. Whether you keep this info in your phone or your purse, it’s not safe from the hands of someone determined to look for ways they can compromise your money and your identity.

 

There are many institutions and laws that pertain to cyber security.  These are certainly there to protect you but obviously you cannot rely on that system solely to be completely guarded.

 

For  information on ID Theft solutions and precautions available, check out our identity theft services page.

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Facebook Safety: Facebook Identity Theft

The all popular and renowned Facebook is the fastest growing social networking website in the world today. More than 250,000 new users are being added to the network daily. Although joining a social networking site seems fun, it is best to keep in mind that sharing information has lots of risks. This includes your personal data – such as your name, contact information, e-mail, and other personal information can be accessed by others when your profile is viewed. Anyone can get private photos and important information about you from your profile. Facebook safety is important especially if you want to avoid Facebook identity theft.

 

Facebook identity theft involves another person stealing your personal information. This comes in various ways. A person can copy your photos, upload them, and create an account which he/she manages but using your name, pictures, and other personal information.

 

An example of Facebook identity theft is the case of a girl named Janice, when she figured out that her roommate was stealing her pictures and uploading it under a Facebook account that her roommate created pretending to be her. She figured this out when a guy named Jason contacted her and told her that he was his online boyfriend for 4 years. Janice never knew the guy, not even online. It turned out that her roommate was the one who had an online relationship with Jason using Janice’s pictures, information, and profile on Facebook.

 

Other forms of Facebook identity theft can happen. With the vast growing members in the social networking site, Facebook safety must be kept in mind all the time to avoid these instances of Facebook identity theft.

 

Here are 3 basic tips for your Facebook safety that are applicable to anyone wanting to avoid Facebook identity theft.

 

Facebook Safety Rule #1 – Keep your personal information private; as much as possible do not include personal contact information, addresses, and especially your bank account details

 

Facebook Safety Rule #2 – Never send money to anyone who asks for it on the Internet; People might use your    personal information for transactions which you are not aware of.

 

Facebook Safety Rule #3 – Once you’ve joined Facebook, know that there is a risk for Facebook identity theft.

 

If you’re looking for a little extra protection from identity theft threats against you or your loved ones, you might want to check out our enhanced identity theft services. Stay safe

 

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Protect Your Bubble is Proud to be the Presenting Sponsor at the 2013 Party Rock Open

 

Party Rock OpenParty Rock Open, the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit female tennis event, returns to Las Vegas this year at the Darling Tennis Center.  The event will take place September 22 – 29, and Protect Your Bubble is excited to be a part of this fantastic event.

 

Party Rock Open, originally named “Lexus of Las Vegas Open” was founded by Tyler Weekes of Courtthink, LLC. He co-directs the tournament with WTA-certified player agent Jordan Butler.  The tournament began its journey in 2009 changing its name to Party Rock Open came to be when Weekes, taught tennis to Redfoo (Stefan Kendal Gordy), leader of the pop group LMFAO, and after some negotiations, Redfood agreed to have his Party Rock clothing line be the new title sponsor of the event.  The players will compete on hard courts in an outdoor setting in the Darling Center in the heart of Las Vegas. The tournament will feature both singles and doubles events. This year, we’re geared up to see challenging matches guaranteed to keep fans at the edge of their seats.

 

Right now, acceptance sheet shows 20 main draw players, 26 qualifying players and 87 alternates, a few of the players include Alisa Kleybanova (former top 20 player), Camila Giorgi (2013 U.S. Open Rd of 16), Andrea Hlavackova (2013 U.S. Open Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles Champion), and Tamira Paszek (2012 Wimbledon Quarter-Finalist)…just to name a few! Indeed, quite a strong player list for this years’ Party Rock Open tournament.

 

We’re excited to be part of Party Rock Open. If you plan to attend, be sure to look for our sponsor table and come say hello! For more information about Party Rock Open, visit the official website at www.partyrockopen.com. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for your chance to receive VIP tickets to the event (that’s a $250 value)!

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