21 Dec
2009
Protect Your Identity and Find Lost Loved Ones with an SSN Search

Many people mistakenly think that an SSN search is only for those conducting business. In fact, a SSN search is beneficial to a wide range of people, including you. Since your social security number is an essential part of how the world sees you, it is important to search yourself to find out what is out there.

The information contained in social security records is invaluable. Not to mention, it is also a good way to protect yourself against identity theft.

How does a Thief Steal Identity with a Social Security Number?

A thief who knows your social can easily steal your identity. By knowing some basic information about the victim, the thief can use that as proof they are the victim. Once they have your personal information, the thief can then claim with proof, they are who they are claiming to be. The victim has no way of knowing their identity is even compromised.

Protect your ID with Regular Monitoring

Your best protection is vigilance. If you regularly monitor your SSN records, then you will know immediately when someone tries to steal your identity. The second they open a bank account, you will know where they are and what they are doing. There is no better protection against identity theft than catching it before it starts.

How Else Can a Social Security Search Help?

Since the social security number is directly related to a given person, it is easy to track someone through the social security number. Even after a person dies, the social security number is updated. Many professional and amateur genealogists use the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) to trace records of the deceased.

The SSDI contains the basic information on the person. Looking through it, you can find:

  • Name
  • Birth Date
  • Birth Place
  • Place of Death
  • Date of Death
  • Last Known Address

This is great information for anyone trying to trace lineage or find family. Once you have a name, date of death, and place of death you can easily find obituaries that list surviving family members. Of course, you can search death records without all that information but it does make it easier.

Curious about your social security number? You can conduct your own SSN search now and find out what information is out there about you. You might be surprised by what you find.


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27 Nov
2009
Are You Being Scammed? How Researching Vital Statistics Can Save You!

Vital statistics can be an easy and fast defense against scam artists who are going to use every lie at their disposal to gain your trust and lift your pocketbook.

Long-range scams are pretty common when a person is trying to trick you out of large amounts of resources. In these scams, a person will use every trick in the book to gain your trust so that you (willingly!) hand over personal and financial information.

Identity theft, business take-over, and draining your bank account are just a few of the goals that these tricksters have in mind.

Recent Death of a Loved One

A classic pattern a scam artist might run on a witless victim involves these scenarios:

•    A long lost family member has died. They need your information to give you access to money left to you in a will.

•    The scam artist has been recently widowed. She appears vulnerable in order to gain access to your trust and eventually… your pocketbook.

•    General death, mishap, or abuse in the family. The scammer claims that he needs money somehow to cover death fees, burial costs, escape from hostile people, or money transfers (of which a percentage is usually promised to the mark). This usually involves the “Nigerian Scam” or the “419 Advanced Fee Fraud”.

•    Fencing a stolen car. You may be buying a hot car that “grandma only drove to church on Sundays”. There are several excuses why they might not have proper documentation, titles, etc. If it sounds fishy, get out of the deal and do the research!

Check Up on Birth Documents and See if You are Dating an Illegal Aliens

A person may claim to be a legal citizen, but really they are in a relationship with you or someone you know in order to gain citizenship. By the time you find out their real motivations, it’s too late!

These people marry or have children in order to gain or maintain citizenship. Once they have a child in a country, they are automatically granted that citizenship.

These are called “anchor babies” because having a child, in the US for example, means that they get to stay and raise their child there.

Be very wary of these people, you may be surprised at what they’re willing to do to get what they want.

Identity Theft or Collect the Prize Scams!

So many scams offer promises of riches, fame, easy money, and everything else, that most people just hand over their personal identity without more than a second thought.

Anything that promises to be too good to be true probably is!

Get to their identity before they can get to you! They will take measures to give you a fake identity, and once you realize they’re a fake, send them on their way (to the police, preferably).  Don’t be fooled by liars, cheats, and conmen. Check their vital statistics immediately, before it’s too late!

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22 Oct
2008
How to Avoid Identity Theft through a Private Investigator

thiefIdentity theft is running all the more rampant in today’s society. It is actually one of the most commonly reported types of fraud, and it can consist of many different activities. A person’s name may be misused, and people can find themselves buying things, selling things, recommending people that they do not know, or taking part in a crime that they did not commit. A person’s date of birth can also be involved in identity theft issues. Another important type of identity theft is misuse of a person’s social security number, which can lead to a variety of tax and payment mishaps. There are so many ways that identity theft can destroy a person’s personal, career, and family life.

People who have been victimized by identity thieves will always say that they wish they had known how to protect themselves in the first place. If you do not wish to be victimized, then you will have to be proactive. You can consult with several government agency representatives or private investigators on how you can protect yourself from identity theft. Basic techniques include avoiding giving your home phone number away through electronic means, such as email or chat. It will also involve keeping your social security number secret, avoiding carrying your social security card with you in your wallet, and sharing your social security number only with the people who need, and who you can trust.

If you are already a victim of identity theft, then you have to report your case to law enforcement officials. However, this does not mean that you should no longer seek other means to bring the perpetrators of the identity theft crime to justice. You will need to talk to private investigators, so that they will be able to assist you in finding the perpetrators and getting your life back. This will mean handing over all your bills, private information, and anything that pertains to your particular case.

How will private investigators help you? They can track down purchases that were made using your credit card number, and then they can trace it to the person who made the purchase. They can go through suspicious numbers on your phone bill to see if someone is stealing your phone line. They can even go undercover in social networks to see if anyone is preying on you or waiting to catch you again. Through a variety of means that are designed to crack down on suspects’ whereabouts, private investigators can help you get your identity back on track.

image credits to Micah A. Ponce

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15 Oct
2008
What You Need to Know About Private Investigators Working on Internet Theft

internetProbably one of the most dangerous threats to security is online theft, also known as Internet theft. It is a form of fraud, wherein critical information regarding a person, business enterprise or private corporation is siphoned off through deceitful means. Often, the goal is to use the information to gain money, blackmail or intimidate. For private investigators working on Internet theft, this is a challenge, particularly because the technology used to perform such crimes is becoming more sophisticated.

Knowledge of the technology is important
One of the most basic requirements for private investigators working Internet theft is to know the technology and understand how it works. A background or some training in computers and computer programming will help. Surprisingly, even a background in accounting can be very useful in this field.

If you want to focus on Internet theft as a specialization, you might want to consider becoming a computer forensic investigator. As such, you will be trained to analyze computer files and systems, recover deleted or encrypted files and retrieve passwords.

You also have to know how to use the Internet. If you must work in cases involving Internet or identity theft, you need to know your way around the World Wide Web.

Laws
You also need to know and understand laws that cover intellectual property and piracy, two of the most common crimes online. Internet theft generally revolves around the act of stealing electronic data and files. There are laws that protect people from these crimes that you need to learn.

Software and hardware
Certain applications and devices can also be very helpful for monitoring online criminals, particularly those that engage in Internet theft. E-mail messages, for example, can be tracked back to its source and with some work, the identity of the sender may be assumed or even revealed.

Handling sensitive information
In the course of your work as a private investigator, you might need to perform some information mining yourself. Most PIs will turn to individuals or companies that sell information such as phone records, home and school addresses and even names of employers, credit card companies and banks.

Be careful about doing business with these firms. Check how the data had been mined. Some companies purchase their data from pretexters – people who obtain information using deceptive means. The data may be useful for you as a detective but using it will be like condoning a practice that you as a PI working on Internet theft are working against.

image credits to mikey g ottawa

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