Watch Out For Identity Theft

In the story that we did not too long ago about identity theft being A Threat To Everyone we gave a definition of this heinous crime that came from the Justice Department.

It was described as the fastest growing crime in the United States with one occurring every two seconds resulting in $24.7 billion in financial losses last year. The problem is so severe that one out of every fourteen Americans was a target or victim of identity theft and 29% of them spent a month or more trying to resolve the problems created by ID theft. In simple terms it is a nightmare!

What Is Identity Theft?

The Department of Justice gives us a definition of “identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.”

The story went on to give ID fraud prevention tips some of which appear here.

Make sure nobody is eavesdropping or standing nearby when you punch your pin number into a retail outlet or ATM.

Before you give out your Social Security number, know how it will be used and if it will be shared.

Use a good quality shredder to dispose of all mail and documents with personal information-even your address.

Take all outgoing mail to collection boxes or to the nearest post office.

Review bank and credit card statements carefully.

Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact.

Make sure all your passwords are strong with at least eight characters using one numerical and one capital character.

Monitor your free annual credit reports regularly and at least once a year.

Be on the lookout for phishing schemes to reveal your personal information and skimming devices that can read the magnetic strip right from your credit card.

We suggested one way to bolster your identity protection right at Your Mailbox. An amazing number of ID thefts occur right there.

In today’s article we will give you some stories related to identity theft that amplifies on the commonality of it and urges you to be constantly on guard against it.

This story explains that many police agencies are unable to track down ID theft suspects in other states because of a Lack Of Resources. Efrain Molina is an attorney who specializes in ID theft cases. One of the best things a victim can do, according to Molina, is to file an application in court declaring themselves a victim of identity theft. A judge can do that; then they can use that court order to resolve most of their identity disputes.

From Detroit, Michigan comes this article that explains that Hacking Or Database Breaches occur almost on a daily basis especially the big ones that you hear about. It has raised the awareness level to the point where job applicants are not wanting to put their Social Security numbers on job applications especially when the applications are Internet-based. If you don’t see an HTTPS in the URL or a lock symbol, find another way.

Employment lawyers agree that ideally employers shouldn’t request Social Security numbers until ready to check out finalists for a position. Unfortunately, that advice is difficult, if not impossible, to follow for employers.

And for employees looking for a job, the situation may be worse. Prospective employees may be faced with a dilemma of giving up their Social Security number or not applying for a job.

Not long ago twenty one million current and former government employees were notified of a database breach-one of the largest anywhere-that led to possible ID Theft. Maryland Atty. Gen. Brian Frosh noted at a meeting recently on the subject that if your security number has been stolen, you are 18 times more likely to be a victim of identity theft.

If individuals fear their information is at risk, they should consider filing for a 90 day fraud alert with the major credit bureaus. That requires creditors to take reasonable steps to verify a person’s identity. Another option which we have mentioned before is credit freezing or as Experian calls it a Security Freeze.

Security Freezes “are designed to prevent a credit reporting company from releasing your credit report without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who is allowed access to the personal and financial information in your file may delay, interfere with or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, insurance, government services or payments, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular telephone, utilities, digital signature, Internet credit card transaction or other services, including an extension of credit at point of sale.”

Freezes should not be used when in the process of buying big ticket items such as a car or home.

Our Boss brand Locking Security Mailbox keeps your mail from being stolen along with your identity. It is a large curbside locking mailbox that is made with heavy duty 12 & 14 gauge electro-galvanized steel construction. It has a patented anti-pry locking mechanism to protect from forced entry. It weighs 40 pounds and has a Lifetime Limited Warranty. There are wall mounted models available too.

I’ll bet you have had some experience with identity theft. Share yours and your secrets with us so that other readers may benefit from them.