A Word About Security
ID Theft | Victims | Agencies That Help |
The Problem of Identity Theft
500,000 to 700,000 10,000,000 Americans a year are at risk of having their identities stolen, according to goverrnment and private sector estimates (updated 2007). Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal infomation and uses it to establish credit, borrow money, charge items or even commit crimes in your name.
While the incidence of Internet identity theft is growing, fraud experts agree that you still are more likely to become a victim of this federal crime by more traditional means, such as improperly discarding credit card or other financial data. Here are some tips on how to
avoid becoming an ID theft victim and what to do should you be stung by one of these thieves.
Protect Your Identity
- Never respond to unsolicited requests for your social security number (SSN) or financial data
- Before discarding, shred credit card, ATM receipts and any pre-approved credit offers you have received but do not plan to use.
- Check all credit card and bank statements for accuracy.
- Avoid easy to figure out access and personal identification numbers (PINs).
- Obtain a copy of your credit report yearly and check it for accuracy.
- Use only secure Web sites when making online purchases. Addresses of secure pages begin with "https" instead of the standard "http" and should display a locked padlock icon somewhere on your browser.
- Pay for online purchases with a credit card to assure you get what you paid
for and to limit your liability.
- Safeguard your social security number (SSN), and check Earnings and Benefit Statements annually for fraudulent use.