Identity Theft Don't Be a Victim Revision II Course Data Author: Lynne Presley, Staff Organization & Development, Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections Course Issued: September 2, 2005. Revised October 12, 2005. Data Sources: Identity Theft Resource Center, San Diego, Ca. Web site. "Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft." Federal Trade Commission, June 2005. Training Credit: One hour (assumes all links are followed) Oracle course number: SAF129000 Course Objectives At the end of this course, students will be able to: • Understand that identity theft is the nation's #1 type of fraud • Identify the reasons thieves steal identity information • Name the six main categories of identity theft • Learn the security measures that can lessen identity theft • Identify the steps to take if the person's identity is stolen Introduction According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft is the nation's number one fraud, and is involved in 60% of consumer complaints. The FDIC reports that 10 million identities are stolen each year On average, a person loses $800 in an identity fraud case On average, a person spends more than 600 hours restoring his or her identity Motivation Why would someone want to steal your identity? Most of the time, thieves want to profit. They may open credit cards in your name, take out new loans, and even use your identity to commit crimes. Victims Identity theft victims may be arrested for crimes they didn't commit, face higher insurance and loan costs, face credit refusals, and even be turned down for jobs. Identity theft victims may also have to spend their time and resources to prove they did not commit the acts performed by the person who stole their identity. Someone Precautions stole my identity??? No one can guarantee that your identity won't be stolen. However, there are precautions you can follow to lessen the risk of identity theft. Lessen Your Risk Precautions to lessen your risk of being a victim of identity theft may be classified in six main categories: • Physical • Mail • Computer • Banking Account • Telephone • Credit Report Physical Security Physical Security Did you know that stolen billfolds and checkbooks are the primary source of identity theft? Your billfold can be stolen in a matter of seconds! What to Do (and what not to do) • Avoid carrying your checkbook and social security card in your purse or billfold. • Lock your purse in a secure place at work. When you're out in public keep it closed and hold it firmly. • Be cautious in the information you divulge to strangers. Avoid repeating your date of birth, full name, social security number, city of birth, mother's maiden name, and other personal data. • Don't have your social security or Leaving your purse in an unsecured area invites theft! driver's license number printed on your checks. Mail Security Mail Security Mail presents many security risks, including the risk of identity theft. Precautions you can take include: • Buy a cross-cut shredder and shred all unsolicited credit card offers and blank courtesy checks that you receive in the mail. • Use a home mail box that can be locked. • Unless it can be locked, never leave outgoing mail in your home mailbox. • If you fail to receive mail for several days, check with the post office to make sure someone has not submitted a change of address to intercept your mail. Telephone Security Telephone Security If the vacation I won is free, why do you need my credit card Be wary about divulging number??? personal information on the telephone. Thieves frequently call strangers and try to obtain personal information by using creative lies, such as saying you have won a contest or a prize. Telephone Security If you order merchandise over the telephone using your credit card, be sure no one, outside family, overhears as you give your credit card number and expiration date. Additionally, placing a credit card order over a corded phone lessens the chance of your call and personal information being intercepted by another telephone or electronic appliance, as sometimes happens with cell or cordless phones. Computer Security Computer Security When the use of personal computers first became widespread, the computing environment was relatively friendly. That is no longer the case. Identity theft can now be committed online. However, there are precautions to take… Computer Security: What to Do (and what not to do) Install protective software: • Firewall • Anti-spyware program(s) • Anti-virus program Keeping all of these programs updated will help protect your computer from unauthorized intrusions, such as hijack attempts and virus, worm and Trojan horse infections. They also help to repel keystroke logging programs which can install secretly on your computer and transmit information you type, such as credit card numbers and passwords, back to the identity thief. Computer Security: What to Do (and what not to do) • Don't respond to "phishing" attempts. These are typically e-mails or links to a web site that mimic the look of a legitimate web site or company and try to trick you into divulging your account information. They will generally warn you that your account has been compromised or stolen, and ask you to update your records by submitting your user name, account number, PIN, and/or password. A legitimate company will not e-mail and ask you for your confidential data! Computer Security: What to Do (and what not to do) • When ordering merchandise over the Internet, make sure the Look for the site is secure. "https" prefix How do you know if it is? Look for the "https" web address prefix and the Look for the "lock" symbol. lock symbol Computer Security: What to Do (and what not to do) • If you order merchandise on the Internet, use a credit card instead of a debit card. Why? Your losses are limited to $50 per credit card if you report unauthorized activity to your card issuer. Debit cards generally do not offer this protection. Computer Security: What to Do (and what not to do) • Use common sense. If you receive an unsolicited e-mail with an attached file, don't open it. Many harmful programs are hidden in file attachments. The authors will try to trick people into opening these attachments by using titles that may appeal to some people such as "You have won a prize;" "Free software;" "Nude celebrity pictures;" or even pretend to offer software security updates. Computer Security: What to Do (and what not to do) • Practice safe Internet surfing. Don't click on offers to download free software, icons, toolbars, and other items unless you're sure they are spyware-free. How do you know? Before downloading, do an Internet search on the name of the "free" product and see what other people have to say about it. If it's contaminated with spyware, you'll most likely read about it. Be very cautious – don't download things you know nothing about. Many are extremely difficult to remove, and gather data that may be used to steal your identity. Bank Account Security Bank Account Security: What to Do (and what not to do) Many people don't discover someone has stolen their identity until money starts disappearing from their bank account. This has become more prevalent as banks have experienced large-scale thefts of their customer data. Precautions to help limit losses include: • Adding a password to your online bank account will provide an extra layer of security in case thieves try to steal your account information. Bank Account Security: What to Do (and what not to do) • Check your bank account activity frequently. Those who are extra cautious may check it every day. Many banks offer online account access, which makes it convenient to check account activity and balance. Bank Account Security: What to Do (and what not to do) ATM Machines ATM machines create special opportunities for identity theft. Thieves can install devices called "skimmers" that steal ATM account numbers and passwords, and "trappers" that actually trap your card inside the machine. Other thieves “shoulder-surf," which means they watch you at the ATM, sometimes with a camera or binoculars, to discover your account number and PIN. Other thieves may hide in the vicinity, overpower a victim, and steal the ATM card or force the victim to withdraw cash. Bank Account Security: What to Do (and what not to do) • Keep your PIN safe. Don't write it on your card or keep it in your billfold. Memorize the number instead. • Watch out for people who offer to help you insert your card into an ATM. Leave and go to another ATM. • Look at the ATM before using it. If it looks altered, or has a sign hanging on it with unusual instructions for using the machine, leave and report the discrepancy to the bank. • If your card becomes stuck in an ATM, call the card's issuer immediately to cancel it. Bank Account Security: What to Do (and what not to do) • Shield the keypad while you key in your PIN. Someone may be watching you. Take your transaction receipt home and shred it later. Don't let anyone "shoulder surf" and obtain your account and PIN numbers. Block the view with your hand or body. Go to another machine if you think someone is trying to spy on you. Credit Report Security Credit Report Security Your credit report is very important. According to the Federal Trade Commission: "A credit report contains information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide consumer reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home. There are three nationwide consumer reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. A recent amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months." Credit Report Security Why would you want to examine your credit report? It's a good precaution to take, because accounts that an identity thief may have opened in your name will show up in your report. Order your free annual reports from all three credit bureaus and compare them side-by-side to look for accounts you have not authorized. You may order your free reports by telephone, mail, or online. The link below will take you to a secure web site that contains instructions for all three report methods: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp If You're a Victim of Identity Theft If someone steals your identity, act quickly to clear your name. Be aware this may be a lengthy process. The non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center has a list of steps to take. Click on the link below: http://www.idtheftcenter.org/ The Federal Trade Commission also has additional information: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/ Conclusion Thank you for taking this course. We sincerely hope you follow the suggested precautions to lessen your chance of becoming an identity theft victim. Stay alert, and stay safe!