There is a new thief on the block. An identity thief and YOU are
Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime today and is effecting
approximately 900,000 NEW victims each year!
Everyday transactions such as writing a check, using your cell
phone, making a charge purchase, applying for a credit card,
mailing your tax returns, even simply placing your outgoing mail
in your mail box may put you at risk.
Shopping Online (e-commerce) has enabled consumers to purchase
almost any product online, from clothing to groceries, vehicles to
home loans and anywhere in between. All with the click of the
These and other transactions require you to share personal
information-credit and bank account numbers, your social security
number, birth date, your income, name, address and telephone
The identity theft takes some piece of your information and then
co-opts (shares) the information while pretending to be you and
uses it to commit fraud or theft. Such as
using your personal information to obtain credit,
merchandise, services or even criminal action in your name.
You, in return, are left with your good name and credit ruined and
with the complicated and time consuming task of regaining your
identity and restoring your credit.
Can identity theft be completely prevented—No, but there are
(steps/ways) you can take to minimize your risk by managing
your personal information better.
Ways An Identity Thief Uses Your Information:
The identity thief calls your credit card issuer, posing as you,
gives a change of address for your credit card account. Then the
identity thief uses your card information to run up charges on
Since your statement (and the merchandise) is going
to a new address, you don't realize right away there
is a problem.
Using your name, birth date and social security number,
the identity thief can open new credit card accounts in
your name, never pay the bills and the delinquent account
is reported in your name and becomes part of your credit
Identity thieves have also been know to open a bank
account in your name, write bad checks on the account
and leave you facing the consequences.
Another area of identity theft is using counterfeit
checks and/or debit cards and steal the money
from your bank account.
Still another area of identity theft is establishing
cellular phone service in your name. The identity thief
can even buy vehicles by using your name and taking
out a vehicle loan.
Steps To Help You Decrease Your Risk Of Identity Theft:
1. Protect your Social Security Number.
Don't carry your Social Security card with you
or in your wallet. Leave your drivers license, social
security and home telephone numbers off your personal
2. Shop Online at Secure Web Sites.
Always make sure you are dealing with a secure
web site. Look for https:// displayed in your
web address bar located near the top of your screen.
The "s" after "http" stands for "secure". https://
3. Destroy information and papers you throw away.
Shred (crosscut shredders are best) bank
information, credit card information, offers for
credit and payments made with receipts given.
4. Know your credit accounts billing cycles. In case
your bills are late coming in, you can call the company
and request a duplicate copy. This will help you see
right away if there is a problem on your account.
5. Check your credit report. Once a year check your credit
report with the three major credit reporting agencies.
Don't overlook the "Inquiries" section of the report. This
will give you an overview of creditors, accounts and
inquiries made on your report.
Even though you can't totally prevent identity theft from
occurring, following these few steps and tips will help you
lower your risk. When the time (credit report) comes....
The Real You IS Standing Up!