(NAPSI)—The Internal Revenue Service recently reported a data security breach that may have affected more than 334,000 American households. This personal data, including Social Security numbers, could land on the Dark Web, where such information is bought and sold by criminal groups operating around the globe.
In addition, the U.S. General Accounting Office reports 19 of 24 government agencies were hacked a total of more than 27,000 times in 2014, spotlighting the fact that there is no such thing as ironclad data security and that millions of Americans are at risk of having their identities stolen.
Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates the average identity theft victim invests more than 200 hours and spends a total of 18 months resolving the issue with credit-reporting agencies.
“Everyone’s talking about data security these days but the truth is no data system is immune to security breaches or hackers, placing every American at risk of identity theft, crimes that cost the U.S. economy more than $25 billion each year,” said Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield. “The best thing you can do is be prepared.”
To mitigate the effects of security breaches and restore the good names of identity theft victims, LegalShield created IDShield. For a monthly fee, it monitors a consumer’s identity, including Social Security number, credit cards and bank accounts; name, address, date of birth, driver’s license and passport numbers; e-mail addresses, phone numbers and medical identification numbers.
How It Works
If a member’s status changes, he or she gets an e-mail update. If a member spots suspicious or fraudulent activity, he or she can contact a licensed private investigator immediately and begin restoring his or her identity. The company will spend up to $5 million to restore victims’ identities to pre-theft status if personal information is ever compromised or stolen. To date, the service has helped more than a million individuals.
What Else You Can Do
The FTC suggests you do the following:
- Keep your financial records, Social Security and Medicare cards in a safe place.
- Shred papers that have your personal or medical information.
- Take mail out of your mailbox as soon as you can.
- Don’t give personal information to someone who calls or e-mails you.
- Use passwords that are not easy to guess. Use both numbers and symbols when you can.
For further information about the effects of identity theft and how to protect your identity, visit www.IDShield.com.