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Identity-Theft: What, Where, When, How?


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How well are you Protected?

Identity-Theft Safety: Free Quiz

Identity-Theft is one of the most often committed crimes in America, and the effects can be long lasting. There are stories of Identity Theft victims continuing to suffer the results of Identity Theft for years after the crime.

In addition, the criminal can practice an off and on tactic, so you can think the person has stopped using your name, your credit,and all the rest,and then the theft starts up again.

You are not immune in college. People tend to trust their roommates or dorm members, even though you just met five minutes ago. Like other kinds of threats, you must use common sense.

Identity Theft starts this way:

  • Lost or stolen checkbooks, wallet, purses, credit cards, or piece of mail
  • Computer viruses, fraudulent emails, hackers grabbing your computer information
  • Business losses >$55 billion annually
  • Nine million Americans have identities stolen each year


    How ? Who?

    NOTE:The latest risky behaviors for credit card theft is using your debit card, and paying for gas with a credit card. Seems employees can find your credit card information.

    As I left the by the back door of a coffee shop near Stanford, I passed the cafe's office. On a shelf, right in front of me to my right, was a box with credit card receipts in it. Easy to grab.

  • Personal or financial info stolen from above sources

  • Friends and family close to you or in your home who have access to your information

  • Personal records stolen from businesses by employee access or hacking records

  • Personal records stolen through email or phone, by someone posing as a rep of a legitimate company

  • Thieves complete change of address form diverting your mail from your home to another address

  • Thieves go through trash, garbage, or city dumps for receipts, names and financial info

  • People in prisons "have the right to Internet access." They can and do use it to stalk people, including their former victims who are the reason the bad guy is in prison. They can continue to wreck the victim's credit from inside, or otherwise intimidate their former victims.


    How can I tell if I am a victim? Are there sign?

    Check your Credit Reports regularly, check for:

  • Credit cards you never applied for showing up on your credit report

  • Accounts listed from stores or businesses for which you did not apply, inquiries regrading credit

  • Verify Social Security number listed on report, check names, addresses

    Credit Reporting Agencies

    Free Credit Report: (877-322-8228)

    Equifax Credit Agency (888-766-0008)

    Esperian Credit Agency (888-397-3742)

    TransUnion Credit Agency (800-888-4213)

    What else? Other signs?

  • Receiving credit cards for which you did not apply

  • Missing bills or other mail

  • Denies credit, or offered high interest rates

  • Receiving calls or letters about merchandise or services you did not buy

  • People going through your trash barrel - the one with all your old mail - with all that personal information. I read that thieves will accumulate a little here, a little there, and soon,they have all kinds of information about you.

    How do I protect myself?

  • Buy a paper shredder, use it to destroy financial records

  • Order free copy of your credit report annually
  • Regularly review your personal information to help protect your credit
  • DO not carry Social Security cards, pin numbers, extra credit cards in your wallet or purse

  • Be careful when supplying your Social Security number. Some businesses, other institutions will ask for it when it is not legal for them to do so. At college for instance, you can request an ID number to be used as your class Identification, instead of your Social Security number

  • Change passwords periodically, and do not use same password for every online website

  • Avoid using birth date or last four digits of your Social Security number as password

  • Don't give others access to your computer, especially NOT to your passwords

  • Regularly update your firewall and software that protects your computer against viruses and spyware

  • Shred unsolicited pre-approved credit card offers, blank courtesy checks

    Promptly collect your mail. If gone for a period, arrange to have mail held at post office

    Social Networking: Facebook, etc.

  • We accept friends of friends onto our private pages.

  • We announce when we are leaving home for a vacation, or even a trip to the mall! Why would you do this?

  • When you start to put private information onto your Facebook page, ask yourself if you would want someone to see this who could do you harm. For most people that would be a "no" answer.

    It happened to me! What do I do?

  • Shred all paper work. Don't throw any personal information into the trash

  • File a police report, and (immediately) submit a copy of complaint/police report to your creditors

  • Report it to the Campus Police at your College

  • Report theft to fraud department of credit bureaus, and get your case numbers

  • Put a "Fraud Alert" on your credit files so creditors will contact you before opening credit accounts

  • Request, in writing, copies of fraudulent applications, and send copy of police report

  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission(FTC):

      National resource for ID theft
        Use on line complaint form
          OR, call 877-438-4338

      • Close any credit cards or bank accounts you think have been opened fraudulently
      • Contact all government issued identification agencies to cancel and get a replacement
      • Use certified return receipt mail in all correspondence, and keep copies of everything

      • Identity Theft Resources

        Campus Security

        Identity Theft Resource Center (858-693-7935 )

        Federal Trade Commission (877-438-4338)

        Better Business Bureau ( 703-276-0100 )

        United States Department of Justice (202-514-2000)

        Social Security Administration (800-772-1213)

        Privacy Rights Clearinghouse ( 619-298-3396)


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