Internet Identity Theft
There are sites on the Internet setup just to steal your information. Sometime they look perfectly legitimate.
Here are some ways to tell that a credit reporting site is legitimate.
1. All legitimate credit report sites will only ask for personal identifying information, such as your Social Security Number, on a page which is encrypted.
It may be okay to put your email address or your home address on a non-encrypted page, but never your SSN! You can tell a page is encrypted in several ways, including:
- Do a 'right' mouse click on the page. Choose to view the properties of the page. The properties should show the Connection as SSL or using encryption.
- Or, a small symbol of a 'padlock' may appear in the lower right of a Internet Explorer browser window.
- Or, the URL of the page will start with 'https' instead of an un-encrypted page which starts with just 'http''
Your credit card or debit card information must also, always be on an encrypted page! The Internet is not secure for sending credit card numbers and expiration dates over un-encrypted pages. Email is not usually encrypted and is generally not secure either.
2. Does the Internet web site have contact information with a real phone number and address?
Most legitimate credit report sites do not hide their phone number and address. Do you really want to deal with a site that doesn't clearly supply a working phone number? If in doubt about the site, try the phone number and speak with someone at the company. They should be reasonably knowlegible about credit reporting and their product.
3. Does the site have a working Seal on their Home page from someone like BBBOnline, Truste, or Verisign?
Click on the seal and see that it is a working seal that takes you to the web page of the company providing the seal. Beware of seals that do not work properly.
4. If you really doubt a site, don't use it! Call here and we'll take a quick look at it, and see if we can tell if it is okay.
Even we can't know for sure, but we have a pretty good feel for it. If it is not a legitimate credit reporting site, we can also report it to the security departments of the 3 credit reporting agencies. That's usually works pretty quickly to get an illegal site shut down and protect more consumers from possible fraud.