When “Jane” (not her real name) first called us, she knew she had an identity theft issue, and thought her computer might be the cause.
She had discovered that her social security and other information were being used to open new credit cards. Money had been removed from her bank account. The good news was Jane was alerted relatively quickly: her bank called her two days after the first withdrawal to notify her that something seemed amiss. Jane worked with her credit card companies and bank, going through the time-consuming process of stopping the thievery, recovering her money, and changing her accounts.
Now she needed to get back to work and make FAFSA applications for her college-bound child with her computer. But she remained hesitant to use her computer, even after having had it cleaned up by another computer company.
“How can I be sure it’s really not infected anymore?” she asked. “Should I get a new computer?”
Of course we offered to give her computer a thorough check-up to ensure that it was clean. But we also spoke with Jane for some time to determine the best course of action for her.
Recovering from Identity Theft
• Because she was victimized, she was very nervous about getting online again.
• Her computer is a 7 year old laptop, meaning that it is very likely nearing the end of its lifespan.
• Replacing the hard drive and reinstalling Windows and her programs from scratch is a good solution. But it’s also time-consuming. This means it may make a computer support company some money. But is it worth the expenditure with a computer this old?
• While cost is important to Jane, keeping her equipment and her information safe is her primary concern.
As the result of our discussion we decided together to replace the computer with a brand new laptop. Security would be updated, upgraded, and configured for regularly scheduled scans before the data from her old laptop would be transferred to the new computer. And that data would be triple-checked for infections before the transfer.
This discussion, and the whole process, helped Jane reach decisions and get back to being productive.
“Thank you. I needed the confidence to be able to move on with my life, and now I think I can take the first steps to do that.”
For many people who have been the victim of identity theft it’s important to not only have the problem resolved. It’s essential to know that you have reliable, trustworthy technical support.
Be Cautious; Avoid Being Fooled
With a bit of caution and bit of critical thinking you won’t be tricked into giving away the store. And if you are fooled at first, you do have the tools to prevent any further incursions and identity theft risks. Be aware of suspicious messages (pop-ups, e-mail, or phone calls), keep your security programs up-to-date, run regular scans, and call your trusted computer support team if you think you have a problem. This will minimize the chances of your computer being the source of identity theft, and help you breathe easier.
Need help keeping your data safe?
Contact Bergen IT:
Bergen IT is a client-centered, comprehensive tech support and strategy company for businesses, professionals, and homeowners. The company services customers in the NJ and New York City metropolitan area, including northern New Jersey (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, and Passaic, NJ), Manhattan and the Bronx, Rockland and Westchester, NY and can remotely assist clients across the USA.
Bergen IT provides computer, mobile device, audio, TV, and home theater services. Our focus is on providing personal attention, reasonable rates and top-notch expertise. For more information, go to: www.bergenit.net.