ID Theft – A Reminder

A couple weeks ago I was preparing to make an estimated tax payment to the IRS when to my horror I discovered a ton of money had been withdrawn from my bank account over a period of weeks through what is known as ACH (clearing house) fraud.

They’d been transferring huge amounts of cash on a daily basis. Fortunately for me, in the USA, provided you notify the bank within 60 days of the statement in which the disputed amounts appear, you’re entitled to a reimbursement within ten days of up to $250,000 per account. In Vietnam, it’s capped at $2,500. And in other countries, you must give notice much sooner than 60 days – or consumer protection is all but non-existant!

Facebook, Yahoo, Google and probably just about everyone else on the planet has had security breaches. Equifax, the largest credit reporting agency in the States, was hacked last year, leading to the personal information of 150 million Americans being leaked. This, in spite of the fact that they’d been warned repeatedly by the government that there were holes in their security.

The thing is, Equifax, Experian and Transunion all stand to profit hundreds of millions of dollars selling extra services each time there is a breach. So they have little incentive to patch them up. They even had the audacity to charge $10.00 to put a freeze on credit reports until the government stepped in. What a cash grab – just imagine: 150,000,000 citizens paying ten dollars each to safeguard their credit!

So remember to use strong passwords and make sure they’re different on every account. Change them regularly. Use a good anti-virus app like bitdefender and install a VPN on all your devices. If your bank offers text notifications for transactions, sign up for them. Check your credit report annually. And if you notice a few pennies deposited in your bank account for no reason, notify your bank immediately.

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