Don’t End Up Looking Like the Bad Guy
As online communications and e-commerce continue to grow, identity theft has reached new criminal proportions. Identity thieves now do much more than simply steal credit card numbers from discarded paper receipts; they use sophisticated computer technologies to illegally obtain your financial assets and can potentially ruin your credit history.
Identity Thieves Steal Personal Identifying Information
They use this information to fraudulently obtain cash and credit, goods, services and other property, including insurance policies. Some of their tactics include opening phony bank accounts or stealing from established ones, obtaining unauthorized credit cards and insurance policies, applying for car or home loans, and leasing vehicles and apartments with false names.
- Dates of birth
- Social security numbers
- Credit card numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Bank account numbers
Tips to Prevent Identity Fraud
- Shred or tear up personal financial documents before discarding them.
- Do not print personal identifiers such as your social security number, date of birth or driver’s license number on your checks.
- Use your social security number only when absolutely necessary.
- Only reveal information online when the website is securely protected (look for a yellow padlock symbol in the corner of your computer screen).
- Do not provide personal, financial or any other identifying information to a telephone caller. Ask for the caller’s name and telephone number, and then check to see that the caller is legitimate.
- Pay attention to your credit card billing cycles, as identity thieves may reroute bills to another address to hide criminal activities involving your accounts.
- Carefully review all monthly credit card statements and check for unauthorized use.
- Get a copy of your credit report at least once a year to check for possible errors.
- Minimize the number of cards and identifying information you carry, especially your social security card and passport.
- Before revealing any information – online, over the phone or in person – ask how it will be used.
Insurance Identity Theft Resources
As a public-private nonprofit organization, the Cybercrime Support Network (CSN) has created FraudSupport.org as the first nationwide initiative developed specifically to help cybercrime victims through a process of “Report, Recover, and Reinforce” after an incident occurs. Check FraudSupport.org often for new resources and reporting improvements.
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