Every few seconds, someone’s identity is stolen. Computers are hacked, wallets are stolen, credit cards are compromised and credit is ruined. The fact is, the system we function under is set up to fail—and unless consumers know their options, it’s just a matter of time before they are victimized themselves.
In the identity theft program, you will learn time- and money-saving techniques to prevent identity theft from taking over your life. Get the scoop on all the various automated tools consumers can set up to monitor their identities and secure their information, no mater whose hands it’s currently in. When you make your data and identity a tougher target to hit, you render it essentially useless to a thief.
You Learn How To:
- Help co-workers, friends, and family stay safe.
- Find out what puts you at risk.
- Protect your Social Security (SS) number.
- Identify sources that have your SS number.
- Protect mail and proprietary information.
- Defend yourself against phone fraud.
- Get a head start before the crime gets you.
- Use high and low-tech means to protect yourself.
- Respond in case you are victimized.
11 Tips To ID Theft Security by Robert L Siciliano ©
Identity theft has become a major U.S. crime. Thousands of people are victimized every year by ruined credit records and even resulting in criminal records under victim’s identity. The FTC has said that identity theft has exceeded all other forms of fraud. Over nine million people were affected last year and thousands more don’t even know they were hit.
- Businesses Responsibility: Identity theft is not your boss’s problem, however an employee struggling to get their life in order after being victimized will surely be distracted, wasting company time, using company phones, going to court, coming in late and leaving early to get their identity straightened out. It is estimated that the average victim spends more that 175 hours and up to $20,000 before restoring their identity. Employee training can help prevent this from happening.
- Fundamentals: Justfrom a name, address, phone, birth date, Social Security (SS) number, mother’s maiden name, bank account number, credit card number, driver’s license, plate number or utility bill, a thief can make a few phone calls, do an online search and become you.
- Little Defenses: Pick pocketing, shoulder surfing and dumpster diving are covert ways of obtaining information. Registry clerks, medical filers, property management filers, bankers, utility company employees or any venue where you are required to give out your SS number for services are the weakest links in your ability to conceal your ID. Dishonest employees have been known to sell lists of SS numbers for money.
- Going Postal: Postal address forms can be filled out and your mail redirected to a criminal’s P.O. Box. Incoming and outgoing mail have everything a criminal needs. Credit card offers and loan applications have proprietary information that just requires a signature. Stolen mail might never be missed, giving the thief a head start.
- Phone Fraud: Predators call congratulating you on winning prizes and trips, others say you hit their auto in a parking lot or they found something of yours with identity on it and ask you to confirm your SS number.
Head Start: On average it takes a person 12 to 16 months to realize they have been victimized. Some thieves will pay off debt for up to a year to get larger increases on loans and credit cards, then cash in when the big loans and limits come in.
- What to do: Here is just a sampling: develop a first-name basis relationship with the postal staff in your town. If they see something that doesn’t make sense they may be the first to notify you. Get a locking mailbox. Never put outgoing mail in your mailbox. Go to the post office or use a secure mailbox. Get a shredder and shred everything with a name, account number or an address. Make an effort to pay all bills online and request online billing statements.
- Pay Attention: Bills for items you never purchased, calls from credit card companies increasing your credit lines, calls from bill collectors looking for payments, mail for other people than yourself in the form of credit card statements or loans. An unusual amount of direct mail from a particular brand or product line can be a tell-tale sign of identity theft. This can represent a large purchase on behalf of the thief that has put you on a direct mail list.
- Be Discreet: It is not necessary to give out your SS number as much as you think. Only give it out if it is absolutely necessary. Deal only with established vendors with solid backgrounds. Never give out your mother’s maiden name unless absolutely necessary.
- Credit Check: The Catch-22 in checking your credit report is that excessive inquiries into your credit lowers your scores, making you less able to get loans for cars or homes. However, quarterly, semi-annually or annually checking your credit will make you aware of activity regarding your SS number.
- If Victimized: Contact the fraud departments of all three major credit bureaus and they flag your SS number. Cancel all credit cards affected by theft. Notify local authorities.
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