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More than 15 million people are victims of identity theft every year. Identity theft occurs when another person or entity obtains a person’s personal information illegally. Such information could be a driver’s license number, a social security number, or credit and debit card information. People who steal this information often use it to obtain services and products illegally. The punishment for identity theft varies from state to state, but it can result in jail time of approximately three to five years.
Identity theft that involves phishing (extraction of personal information by email) can result in an additional two years of jail time. Any terroristic form of identity theft can land a perpetrator in jail for up to 25 years. Persons who receive convictions for identity theft may also have to pay high fines.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
Consumers can make efforts to prevent identity theft by concealing their credit card numbers when they shop at physical locations. Online shoppers should only use secure trusted websites to order their products and services. Additionally, people who receive strange emails that request personal information should not answer the emails or click on any links that the sender provides.
How to Tell if You have Been Victimized
The best way that a person can stay up to date on his or her identity theft status is by performing a credit report check at least once per year. Consumers should also check their bank accounts and credit card balances on a daily basis. Unusual account depletions and foreign credit report items are a clear indication that someone has been using a consumer’s personal information to gain products or services. The consumer must take steps to restore and protect his or her information upon discovering such activity.
What to Do About Identity Theft
The first step a consumer can take to recover from identity theft is placing an alert with the credit bureaus. Once an alert is in place, no one can open an account with that person’s information unless he or she goes through an extensive verification process. The verification process will include verifying information that only the debtor knows. Next, the consumer should report any losses to credit and debit card companies so they can recover the funds and close the cards. Finally, the consumer can choose to take legal action if the creditors can establish the identity of the person who committed the fraudulent act. Victims of identity theft are not liable for any expenses that were not theirs.
Smartphone prices are continuing to rise as their features and benefits are becoming more elaborate. The average cost of a cell phone with the latest technology is approximately $300 to $500. You may want to obtain a modern smartphone to stay up to date on the latest trends. However, your lifestyle or your current pay rate may prevent you from paying full retail cost. The following are some tips that can help you to obtain a new smartphone for less:
Consider Signing a Contract
The biggest benefit of signing up for a two-year agreement with a cell phone company is that you can obtain a brand new smartphone for a fraction of the cost. You can usually gain approval for service if you have a fair credit rating. The provider may ask for a security deposit if your credit is less than “good.” Furthermore, you will have to stick with the provider for the duration of your contract, or you will have to pay an early termination fee. Before you sign a contract, you must be sure that you will appreciate your phone and your provider for two years. Additionally, you should live in the same area for two years.
Search for Promo Codes
Promotion codes and coupons can help you to save money on an expensive smartphone. You can find such codes online by entering the provider’s name or the cell phone name in the Google search engine followed by “promo codes” or “discount codes.” Discount codes and coupon codes are extremely easy to use online. During the checkout process, you will have an opportunity to enter such codes. The system will calculate your discounts, and then you can proceed to purchasing your new devices.
Enroll in a Payment Plan
You can apply for a payment plan if you have good credit. Major cell phone providers offer 24-month payment plans on smartphones. You could quite possibly obtain a smartphone with no money down and a monthly payment of only $10 to $30.
Shop for Used Devices
Finally, you can choose to shop for a used device to save yourself money. Online auction sites and classified ads are the best places to find used phones. Be sure to check the seller’s return policy and call in the phone’s electronic serial number before you make a purchase. You want to make sure that your device is not on the stolen list.
As a consumer, you can save hundreds of dollars by using the aforementioned methods to obtain a smartphone.