Tips And Tricks To Regain Your Stolen Identity

Stolen identity is a frightening experience, and it causes a lot of headaches and frustration. The trick is to stay protected whether you’re shopping online or simply giving out your credit card to a live cashier. If you’re already a victim of identity theft, here are a few tips and tricks for regaining your identity:

Understand Identity Theft

Identity theft is more than just a stolen credit card number. Many thieves are now using private information, such as your social security number, birthdate, and/or name to commit fraud, such as applying for loans or credit cards under your name. Approximately 9 million Americans are part of an identity scam, but most aren’t as extreme. Even mild cases of identity theft are difficult to resolve, but with the right support, financial experts can help.

Act Fast When Your Identity is Stolen

The first thing to do is contact each of the credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. They can put an alert on all of your open accounts, and can also freeze your social security number from any other accounts being opened or accessed. Next, utilize resources on the FTC website. Many of the forms available on this site will help expedite the process. Depending on the type of theft, you may choose to file a police report with your local precinct.

Keep Track of all Your Information

Next, close any fraudulent accounts and if there are suspicious charges on your own accounts, close them out too. You can do this by calling your banks, credit card companies, and any other businesses with which you have accounts. Keep detailed records of how much time you spend, because if the case ends up going to court, you can seek damages for these hours. Several months after the loss, obtain a credit report to make sure that all the fraudulent charges are gone. Once you complete these steps, your credit will return to its original status.

Learn to Prevent Future Identity Theft

You can also take preventive steps to avoid identity theft before it happens. One tip is to never carry your social security card. If you use a debit card, don’t keep the Personal Identification Number with it. Some experts recommend that you never use a debit card for online purchases. Since this links to your checking account, a thief can drain your bank account in just a few transactions. A credit card is much more secure, since it’s much easier to reverse a charge and issue a credit instead of trying to replace stolen money. Be cautious when using websites to shop, and make sure they have valid security and encryption.

Use Tools That Help

If you receive credit card applications, bank statements, or other personal documents by mail, make sure to shred them instead of tossing them in the trash. Keep careful track of your credit card and bank statements, and report any unauthorized activity immediately. Another great tool is LifeLock id protection, which helps monitor your patterns and alert you of any changes in spending.

With so many resources, identity theft becomes more manageable, and those affected can resolve the problems and return to financial freedom.

5 Reasons Why Your Business Should Avoid Upgrading to Windows 8

After a lackluster release and sparse adoption, it seems like more and more businesses are taking the, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to the Windows 8 operating system. And, for PC-only offices and other advocates of all things Windows, lucky number 7 seems to fill the need just fine. So, what are some reasons why your business should avoid upgrading to Windows 8?

No Touch Screen = No Benefit

When designing its new operating system, Microsoft realized that touch screens are trending. To their credit, Microsoft was right, but that doesn’t account for all PC users – especially for those in the business world. Windows 8 does work just fine on regular screens found in offices across the country and world, but the operating system is touch screen optimized. So, if your office computer doesn’t respond to touch, you’re missing out on some incredibly intuitive features.

App Complications

With Windows 8, your operating system is essentially working off of two platforms: your traditional desktop and a new, ultra-modern operating experience. And, unfortunately, the best of both worlds only complicates matters when it comes to apps. In other words, your apps based in tradition won’t function in the modern world of Windows 8 and vice versa. Although these two platforms share the same operating system, their apps function on radically different levels, which translates to trouble.

A Lack of Applications

Speaking of apps, it doesn’t matter the kinds of applications your business needs or that you’re even able to download them at blazing fast speeds with your business’s DSL Internet Service, if there aren’t any apps available, then you’re out of luck with Windows 8. Sure, the Windows app store will likely create more apps as time goes on, but the question is, how long will that take? Apps make your personal and business life easier, and without them, you have an operating system that’s not operating at its full potential.

The Learning Curve

The drastically different Windows 8 operating system comes complete with a pretty steep learning curve. In fact, just to give you an idea of how different it really is, the standard start menu is gone and replaced with an eye-catching, time-consuming series of animated tiles. Tiles are fine, moving tiles are even better because they’re entertaining, but in the business world, these elements translate to a lack in productivity. Practice does make perfect, but at what cost to your businesses bottom dollar?

Companies Aren’t on Board

 Due to the lack of adoption by consumers, many companies aren’t supporting Windows 8. Facebook, one of the world’s most popular websites, has gone on record and stated that they have no plans to bring a Windows 8 app out. So, when it comes time to upgrade your office equipment, there’s a good chance everything’s going to come with Windows 7 pre-installed, thus requiring an additional operating system upgrade for those wanting Windows 8. If you’re still not convinced that Windows 8 isn’t the best operating system for your business, give it a try to see for yourself – just don’t say you weren’t warned.

 Author Bio:

 Joe Fortunato is a freelance writer from Tampa, Florida. He enjoys learning about new subjects, following his Baltimore Orioles, and traveling the country for fishing. You can find Joe on Twitter at @joey_fort.