Identity Theft Myths Part 1of3 During PYIW
Identity Theft Expert Robert Siciliano
The National Foundation for Credit Counselors, which sponsors Protect Your Identity Week, has compiled a number of identity theft myths. To support their efforts, the Santa Fe Group Vendor Council Awareness and Education Subcommittee has helped to clarify some common misinformation with regards to this increasingly common crime.
Myth #1: There’s no way to protect yourself from identity theft.
Identity theft is preventable. As with any other crime, the risk will always be there. But there are many things people can do to minimize that risk, both online and offline. Preventative measures include keeping financial records protected and private, shredding junk mail, and tracking who sees your personal information. An identity theft protection service uses a variety of techniques to prevent, detect, and, if necessary, resolve identity theft.
Myth #2: Identity theft is only a financial crime.
While financial identity theft (theft of information for financial gain) is most prevalent, other types of identity theft can be equally dangerous, potentially costly, and time consuming to resolve. For example, with medical identity theft, personal medical records are used to access medical treatment or drugs, or to make false insurance claims. With criminal identity theft, a person uses faulty or stolen identification to avoid prosecution by law enforcement.
Medical identity theft: http://www.worldprivacyforum.org/pdf/wpf_medicalidtheft2006.pdf
Criminal identity theft: http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs17g-CrimIdTheft.htm
Employment fraud: http://www.idtheftcenter.org/artman2/publish/v_art_solutions/Solution_27_-_Someone_Working_as_You.shtml
Myth #3: It’s my bank’s fault if I became a victim of identity theft.
Some identity crime does originate with the theft of bank records or is perpetuated by lax security practices. However, the majority of identity theft begins elsewhere. Personal information may be stolen with low tech tools such as a lost or stolen wallet, checkbook, or a debit or credit card, or more high tech methods, such as skimming, phishing, and hacking.
Myth #4: It is safe to give your personal information over the phone if your caller ID confirms that it is your bank.
It is never safe to give personal information to unsolicited callers, no matter who they say they are. Caller IDs are easily spoofed. If you believe the caller is legitimate, hang up and call the bank back at its listed phone number.
Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft protection can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk.