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Regular APR:. Cash Back. National Average Low Interest Business Balance Transfer Airline Cash Back Reward Student One recent profile of ransomware victims demonstrated a couple of different approaches to dealing with an attack. In one instance, a city government was infiltrated; they decided to pay the ransom and hope for the best. In the other case, city officials decided not to pay the ransom and instead rely on the backups of their important files.

So who was right? Every ransomware attack and every victim are different , so making a sound decision about recovery should be the work of the victim, law enforcement, and security experts. Regular company training and a comprehensive company-wide computer use policy can help protect your business network, and monitoring computer use at home can do the same.

As always, installing and updating a strong antivirus solution to block these threats is important, too. Most consumers probably have some level of knowledge about identity theft and fraud. It might only be a passing familiarity thanks to news headlines about record-setting numbers of data breaches. For others, their deeper knowledge of this kind of crime may come from having already been victimized.

As anyone who has had to navigate the aftermath of identity theft crimes can tell you, it carries a lasting—possibly even lifelong—impact. So how much do you really know about this crime? You can take this short quiz to find out!

Identity Theft: What to do & How to Avoid It

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners , ACFE for short, wants to help every consumer be as fraud-aware as possible in order to reduce their risk of becoming a victim. The organization hosts an annual event each November known as Fraud Week, and together with the Identity Theft Resource Center will host a Twitter chat filled with important tips and information for the public. International Fraud Awareness Week will run from November 11 th through 17 th , and while some of the information is geared towards preventing this crime within the business sector, there are plenty of resources for everyday consumers.

You can sign up to host a local community education event, direct your company or business to informational webinars, and find ideas for posting on social media to raise awareness. One great item to share on your social media channels is this ACFE video on identity theft and fraud , for example.


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Of course, joining the Twitter chat on November 15 th is another great way to get involved and stay informed. Be sure to add the hashtag to all of your questions or comments so other participants and the chat hosts can see them. Finally, one of the best ways to really understand the impact of fraud is to hear from the victims themselves.

This information explores not only the financial impact of this crime, but also the mental, emotional, and even physical effects of being a victim. However, there are ways consumers can reduce their risk, recover as quickly as possible, and minimize the lasting effects. Knowing how to recover from this kind of crime starts without knowing what preventive measures to put in place, what steps to take in the event of fraud, and what resources are available to help victims. It all starts with awareness, so make plans to be a part of Fraud Week. On November 6 th , citizens will cast their votes for governors, state officials, or members of Congress, either continuing to support the incumbent or opting to make a change with a new candidate.

In any event, the work of campaigning and elections are big business…especially for scammers.


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  • With so much discussion about the mid-term elections, thieves have launched a wide variety of election season scams to steal personally identifiable information, financial resources, or both. Also, keep an eye on your credit score—a sudden inexplicable drop can be a dead giveaway that something is wrong. If you have even an inkling that you've fallen victim to identity theft, the most important thing to do is to limit the potential damage.

    If a credit card or debit card was stolen, contact the card issuer and your bank immediately—some banks may even allow you to lock your account through your mobile app until you can report the fraud. Next, double-check your credit reports with the three credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion and Equifax to confirm any type of unusual activity and get help dealing with the theft.

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    If you find something is amiss, consider locking or freezing your credit. Alternatively, you can set up a fraud alert , which notifies lenders that you've been a victim of identity theft so they can take extra measures to verify your identity. Remember, identity theft is a crime, so it's also a good idea to contact your local law enforcement agency. While authorities may not be able to do much, they can take reports and be on the alert for suspicious behavior that could involve your name or address.

    Before you do report the crime , reach out to the Federal Trade Commission to file a report. The agency will provide steps you need to take and paperwork to file reports—including how to deal with police reports—and help you dispute fraudulent charges. Being a victim of identity theft is a harrowing experience. It can take months and many hours of filling out forms and working with agencies and businesses to recover your identity once it is stolen.

    Diligence Pays Off Recognizing the signs of identity theft and taking steps to prevent it can save you heartache, stress and loss. As you check your credit report and score regularly, watch out for suspicious transactions, accounts and notifications, and act fast when something is off. If you're diligent, you'll be in a better position to catch identity theft early before it ruins more than just your day.

    Identity thieves use the Dark Web to buy personal data to commit fraud.

    Stolen Social security numbers used for new fraud

    Protect yourself today with Dark Web Surveillance and a full suite of identity protection services. Our Editorial Policies: The information contained in Ask Experian is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

    All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication and are updated as provided by our partners. While maintained for your information, archived posts may not reflect current Experian policy.

    Identity Theft

    The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team will include it in a future post.


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