How Safe Is Identity Theft Protection and Credit Freeze?
BETHESDA, MD - Identity Theft is causing devastating damage to consumers throughout the world. In the U.S., Identity Theft losses for 2005 and 2006 totaled $106 Billion on a combined basis, with 17.3 Million associated Identity Theft Victims (BBB/Javelin Research). Americans face a 3% likelihood of being subjected to Identity Theft in a given year. This implies almost a 100% certainty that you or someone in your family will be an Identity Theft victim sometime in your lifetime.
The widespread problem of Identity Theft led to the introduction of several Identity Theft Protection services, products, and Websites. How safe are those Identity Theft Protection services? To minimize Identity Theft risks, consumers must limit distribution of sensitive personal identifying and payment information.
One website that is very respectful of such requirement can be found at www.CreditLock.com, offering Identity Theft Protection information, news, research, services and products. It is operated by GammaWealth Strategy & Research, LLC. Bachar Samawi, Chief Strategist, explains, "When we launched www.CreditLock.com, we approached Identity Theft Protection from the perspective of an individual concerned about Identity Theft. We ourselves are such individuals. We set specific ground rules consistent with the spirit of Identity Theft Protection:
1- "Make consumers aware of Identity Theft protection services which they can implement themselves for free directly with the appropriate entity. Those include: Free Annual Credit Report, National Do Not Call List, Credit Solicitation Opt-Out, and Fraud Alerts. We would simply provide information and links for such services.
2- "Provide free information and education about Identity Theft, Credit Freeze, Credit Monitoring, Credit Reports, Fraud Alerts, National Do Not Call List, Credit Solicitation Opt-out, and other topics relevant to Identity Theft.
3- "Donít ask consumers for any Limited Power of Attorney, Authorization Letters or the sort. Doing so can expose consumers if such document is mishandled.
4- "Donít ask, nor store, sensitive consumer information. If needed, only ask for name, address and email. For Credit Monitoring services, we provide a link to one of the three Credit Reporting agencies which should already have consumersí sensitive information, but may request it for validation purposes. We used the same approach for Credit Reports and Credit Scores.
5- "Provide consumers with a streamlined product for Credit Freeze. We introduced Credit Lock Down Proô. Such product organized in excess of 100 web pages and 220 files, into a simple tool, driven by an interactive color-coded U.S. map. Such tool can generate Print & Fill forms, which can be mailed to the appropriate party. Hence, no sensitive information is submitted to us, nor stored at our computer, nor the userís computer. We offer such product on a complimentary basis to our members.
6- "Keep consumers aware of current Identity Theft issues by providing News & Research.
7- "Make Membership to www.CreditLock.com extremely cheap, helping us offset our costs as we encourage advocacy for Privacy and Identity Theft Protection.
8- ďDonít ask for, nor store payment nor Credit Card information. To do so, we forward our Members to Paypal to submit payment directly there. Paypal does not share payment information with us. With over 133 Million accounts, most individuals would already have an account with Paypal.Ē
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