Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Creditcards.com reports Credit and debit card fraud is the No. 1 fear of Americans in the midst of the global financial crisis, according to a report by Unisys, an information technology company. Concern about fraud supersedes that of terrorism, computer and health viruses and personal safety. According to research 66 percent are extremely or very concerned by data breaches and their personal information compromised leading to credit card fraud.

Only 58 percent said they are extremely or very concerned about terrorism and war, and 41 percent say they feel the same about a serious health epidemic occurring.

Credit card fraud comes in two different flavors: account takeover and new account fraud. Account takeover occurs when the identity thief gains access to your credit or debit card number through criminal hacking, dumpster diving, ATM skimming, or perhaps you simply hand it over when paying at a store or restaurant. Technically, account takeover is the most prevalent form of identity theft. I’ve always viewed it as simple credit card fraud, rather than “identity theft” in its truest sense.

Federal laws limit cardholder liability to $50.00 in the case of credit card fraud, as long as the cardholder disputes the charge within 60 days. Debit card fraud victims must notify the bank within two days in order to maintain this $50.00 limit. After that, the maximum liability jumps to $500.00. And if a victim doesn’t discover or report the fraud until after 60 days have passed, the liability could be the entire card balance, for a debit or credit card. Once your debit card is compromised, you might not find out until a check bounces or the card is declined. And once you do recover the funds, the thief can just start all over again, unless you cancel the account altogether.

1. Protecting yourself from account takeover is relatively easy. Simply pay attention to your statements every month and refute unauthorized charges immediately. I check my charges online once every two weeks. If I’m traveling extensively, especially out of the country, I let the credit card company know ahead of time, so they won’t shut down my card while I’m on the road.

2. Protecting yourself from new account fraud requires more effort. You can attempt to protect your own identity, by getting yourself a credit freeze, or setting up your own fraud alerts. There are pros and cons to each.

3. Invest in Intelius Identity Protect. Because when all else fails you’ll have someone watching your back.

Includes:

· Triple Bureau Credit monitoring – monitors changes in your credit profiles from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion-includes email alerts of any suspicious changes
· Social Security Number and Public Record Monitoring – monitors the internet and public sources for fraudulent social security number, aliases, addresses, and phone numbers
· Junk Mail Reduction – stop identity thieves from using personal information from your mailbox, trash or even phone calls by eliminating junk mail, credit card offers and telemarketing calls
· Neighborhood Watch – includes a sex offender report, list of neighbors and a neighbor report on each of your neighbors
· Identity Theft Specialists – if in the unlikely event you become a victim of identity theft our Identity Theft experts will work with you to restore your identity and good name
· Credit Report Dispute – if you find errors on your credit report we will help you resolve them quickly
· Protection Insurance and Specialists -Identity Protect has you covered with up to $25,000 in Identity Theft Recovery Insurance and access to Personal Identity Theft Resolution Specialists.
· Triple Bureau Credit monitoring – monitors changes in your credit profiles from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion-includes email alerts of any suspicious changes
· Social Security Number and Public Record Monitoring – monitors the internet and public sources for fraudulent social security number, aliases, addresses, and phone numbers
· Junk Mail Reduction – stop identity thieves from using personal information from your mailbox, trash or even phone calls by eliminating junk mail, credit card offers and telemarketing calls
· Neighborhood Watch – includes a sex offender report, list of neighbors and a neighbor report on each of your neighbors
· Identity Theft Specialists – if in the unlikely event you become a victim of identity theft our Identity Theft experts will work with you to restore your identity and good name
· Credit Report Dispute – if you find errors on your credit report we will help you resolve them quickly
· Protection Insurance and Specialists -Identity Protect has you covered with up to $25,000 in Identity Theft Recovery Insurance and access to Personal Identity Theft Resolution Specialists.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing credit card and debit card fraud on CNBC

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