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The Many Faces of Identity Thieves

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The Many Faces of Identity Thieves Powered By Docstoc
					Presented by Daniel Toriola
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The Many Faces of Identity Thieves By Janna Weiss

Identity theft is a serious crime. Estimates vary, but up to 15 million people may have been victimized by identity thieves in America last year. And the demographics of this crime are startling: victims usually know or have a personal relationship with the very people who steal their identity. It’s a sad fact that identity thieves are likely to be our friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members. Even young children are targets – and their parents are the usual perpetrators. Once identity thieves have your personal information, they’re most likely to use it to open new credit card accounts. Considering the potential for financial ruin, that’s a scary proposition indeed. Worse, they can also pretend to be you while they hijack the accounts you already have. Once your identity has been compromised, it can take thousands of hours and a lot of money to repair the damage. Who would do such a thing to a friend or loved one, and why? Sometimes the thieves are exes who want to control or terrorize their victim for personal reasons. Other times, identity thieves pretend to be family members with good credit in order to get loans or obtain cell phone contracts. One father even pretended to be his 22 month old son in order to file for bankruptcy. He wanted to enjoy the benefits of bankrupt status (ie, no more calls from debtors) without tainting his own credit. What a legacy to pass on to a child! Co-workers also have the opportunity to steal our identities. Like more intimate acquaintances, their motivations might include addiction, necessity, or plain old greed. Be sure to keep your personal information under lock and key and never leave your purse lying around where a nosy thief can rifle through it. Also, never give out your personal information over the phone where others might be listening. Password protect your computer and lock it whenever you leave your desk. Dealing with identity theft, especially when it’s been carried out by someone we know, can take a heavy toll on us both financially and emotionally. Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect your identity. • Don’t carry your Social Security card with you every day • Don’t have your Social Security number printed on checks or your driver’s license

Identity Theft Protection DON'T BE A VICTIM. Use PROVEN fraud protection techniques to SAFEGUARD YOU and YOUR FAMILY against IDENTITY THEFT. Page 1

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• Don’t say your Social Security number out loud when listeners are nearby • Never give someone access to your credit or debit cards • Always keep your PINs and passwords a closely-guarded secret It’s nice to help out friends and family, but make sure that you’re not funding an unauthorized shopping spree! Check your credit report at least once a year and dispute items that don’t belong there. If you see a large number of accounts that you didn’t apply for, get in touch with your credit card company and credit bureau right away. You might be unpleasantly surprised by the purchases that have been made in your name, without your permission. This article has been provided courtesy of Creditor Web, http://www.creditorweb.com .

Don't Let This Happen To You The world's Identity theft nightmare and how to immunize yourself. Page 2

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Identity Protection: Preventing Fraud And All That Jazz By Charles White

Identity theft occurs when someone uses personally identifying information without permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Personal information targeted by identity thieves include Social Security number, or credit card number. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Identity theft is so pervasive in society today that you or someone you know may have experienced some form of identity theft. The crime of identity theft can takes many forms. Identity thieves may use your personal information to rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you did not make or until you are contacted by a debt collector. The problem of identity theft should be taken seriously. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record. Some consumers victimized by identity theft may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. In rare cases, they may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit. Identity theft is a very lucrative business for thieves. Skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to get hold of your information. Their mode of stealing information may range from old-fashioned breaking in your home to get your personal information to high tech ways such as hacking into your or the government's computers. More common ways to steal personal information include rummaging through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information; stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card; pretending to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information; diverting your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form; old fashioned stealing of wallets, purses and mail; and using false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources.

Once they have your personal information, identity thieves use it in a variety of ways, including credit card fraud, phone or utilities fraud, bank/finance fraud, and government documents fraud. In order to protect against identity theft, we must deter identity thieves by safeguarding personal information. We should also be wary of suspicious activity by routinely monitoring financial accounts and billing statements. There is no fool-proof way to avoid identity theft. However, there are steps you can take to minimize your chance of becoming a victim, and steps to take to minimize the damage should a theft occur.

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