By Thomas Sheffield

It seems every time we look up, there is another data breach.  Identity theft has been a growing problem here in the US.  We depend more and more upon the internet to do things faster and more efficiently.  We do our shopping, banking, pay our bills, research and entertain ourselves through the internet.  A price we pay for this convenience is the chances of our identity being compromised.  There are now over 12 million victims of identity theft per year.   5% or roughly 600,000 of the victims are African Americans.  Around 35 million Americans have been a victim in some way shape or form.  The average loss per theft is over $5,000 and half of the identity theft cases go unnoticed for almost a month.  10% of identity theft crimes go unnoticed for 2 years or more.  These acts cause people heart ache, time and money and people in our community can ill afford to deal with it.  

Identity thieves can wipe out what it has taken you a lifetime to build.  Considering how much time and effort it will take for you to restore what was taken.  Thieves can steal all the money from your bank account, liquidate your retirement account, sell the title to your home, take out loans in your name, get your tax refunds, take your healthcare, ruining your good credit and so much more.  The latest breach occurred with Capital One which exposed personal information of nearly 106 million of their bank’s customers and applicants.  This is on top of Uber with 57 million affected victims, Equifax 145 million, Target 110 million, Home Depot 56 million, Marriott 500 million and the list continues to grow.  

Here are some things you can do to help reduce the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.  First, do not send any information to people you do not know.  Second, keep all important business and personal documentation in a secure place.  Next, use anti virus software, firewalls and fraud management tools for your computers.  Finally, sign up for identity theft insurance.

A full service restoration service that works on your behalf is priceless.  This form of insurance will help you to save time and money as they work to allow for full restoration.

There are many different services out there for identity theft protection.  LifeLock has become the leading company for ID theft but is facing stiff competition from other companies.  One company I found to add better value is ReliaShield.  ReliaShield plans cost less and offers $1,000,000 of stolen funds and personal expense reimbursement protection compared to LifeLock who offers only $25k or $100k of reimbursement coverage.  We all have something to protect.  We all should protect our time and our good names. Being pro-active always saves you time and money.  

If you feel the need to get protection for you and your family, feel free to contact me directly at or follow me on Twitter @tcsheff.