New sites can prevent identity theft

November 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Two new websites offer to check on your chances of becoming an identity theft victim.

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These are brand new services and they give you a snapshot look at your vulnerability and they both do it for free.

The CEO of www.trustedid.com, Scott Mitic, showed 7 On Your Side his new website: stolenidsearch.com.

This site reaches into the Internet, in places you've never been.

"Have you ever wondered where all those phishing attacks lead, where all those data losses lead? Well, they lead in to the dark web, the criminal underworld and this website let's you search to see if your information is part of that world," he said.

There are 40 million names in this data base, and if one of them is yours your identity is at risk. To check, you give the site some basic personal information like name and address and it compares that with its list of compromised ids.

"The way this information comes to us is through a number of different sources, but a big chunk of it is from informants who are living in that world and have access to the data. So they are the good guys that are in the bad world and they put the information where we can get it and put it into this data base," said Mitic.

The cost? Nothing the service is free.

Here's another free service is from www.myidscore.com. Its information, however, comes from a far different source. It is owned by a company called www.idanalytics.com and up till now it has worked strictly with corporations.

"The data in our network comes from companies from across the nation, many of America's leading companies. It is quite likely that the credit card you have your wallet or the phone company you have uses our services," said Tom Oscherwitz from My ID Score.

My ID Score looks for unusual activity that suggests fraud. One percent of those checking will be at high risk, five to eight percent moderate and the rest low. The website makes it all very clear with a gauge.

"It is kind of like a thermometer. It is a tool they can use to protect themselves. If you have a temperature of 98 degrees it doesn't mean you are healthy, but if you have a temperature of 104 degrees it is something to be concerned about," said Oscherwitz.

"Whether it is good information or bad at the very least it is free," said Joe Ridout from Consumer Action. "It is difficult to tell exactly what's going into these numbers or results, but they are free and there is no harm in taking a look at it."

Both sites say I am in good shape with a low chance of identity theft, but remember that can change on a moment's notice. So checking back and continuing to protect my personal information remains a top priority.

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