Identity Theft:Crime of the 21st Century It could happen to you! Definition Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully uses your personal information to obtain credit, loans, services,rentals, and mortgages in your name. They may even commit crimes while impersonating you! Many victims of identity theft feel that they have been personally violated. They may not even know they are a victim until years later. Anyone can be a victim no matter how well you protect your personal information. In January of 2007 the Federal Trade Commission-Consumer Sentinel released a report indicating that identity theft has has stayed about the same for the last three years. In fact in some instances it was slightly lower. In 2006 the FTC received over 670,000 consumer fraud and identity theft complaints. Consumers reported losses from fraud of more than $1.1 billion in 2006 Recent studies show that most of the identity theft and frauds are from someone the victim is familiar with (47%). Child identity theft is also on the rise. The persons committing these crimes are close family members, such as the parents or grandparents. More Facts Credit card fraud (25%) was the most common form of reported identity theft, followed by phone or utility fraud (16%), bank fraud (16%), and employment fraud (14%). Other significant frauds were government/benefits fraud (10%) and loan fraud (5%). Electronic fund transfer-related ID theft continues to be the most frequently reported type of ID theft bank fraud during 2006. ID theft decreased by 1% in 2006 while other frauds increased by 3% in the same period. Where Does Missouri & Illinois Rank? Missouri is ranked at #21 and Illinois is ranked #12 for most ID thefts. Missouri is ranked # 23 and Illinois is ranked #39 for other frauds in the United States per victim by state in 2006. These numbers are from victims and law enforcement agencies reporting ID theft and frauds to the Federal Trade Commission. Sentinel Top Complaint Categories January 1 – December 31, 2006 Percentages are based on the total number of Sentinel complaints (674,354) received by the FTC in 2006. Rank Top Categories Complaints Percentage1 1 Identity Theft 36% 2 Shop-at-Home/Catalog Sales 7% 3 Prizes/Sweepstakes and Lotteries 7% 4 Internet Services and Computer Complaints 6% 5 Internet Auctions 5% 6 Foreign Money Offers 3% 7 Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection/Repair 2% 8 Magazines and Buyers Clubs 1% Complaint Stats cont’d. 9 Telephone Services 1% 10 Health Care 1% 11 Business Opps and Work-at-Home Plans 1% 12 Travel, Vacations and Timeshare 1% 13 Office Supplies and Services 1% 14 Grants: Scholarships/Educational & Non- Educational 1% 15 Employment Agencies/Job Counsel/Overseas Work 1% 16 Investments 1% Other Coded Complaints 2% How Identity Fraud is Committed “Dumpster Diving”-going through your trash “Shoulder Surfing”-looking over your shoulder Stealing wallets and/or purses with your identification Pre-approved credit card applications by mail Theft of your mail Employee theft of your information On-line scams (phishing) Telephone scams (vishing) Impersonating a government, bank, creditor or other company official. Phishing or Vishing,what’s that? Phishing is when someone attempts to gain personal information from you on a computer. The website or E-mail looks like it is from your financial institution, on-line auction company, creditor, or some other company that you do business with. They may indicate there has been a security breach or they are updating their information. If you do not reply immediately they will cancel your account or you are may be penalized for not acting on this. The companies that you do business with will never ask you this information. Phishing or Vishing cont’d. Vishing is similar to phishing except it is by telephone. They claim to be someone that you do business with, telephone company, or a government official. Again, they ask you for you personal information. They use a device that will even give your caller ID the correct business name or phone number that they are calling from. This is called caller ID spoofing in hopes that you believe to whom they say they are. Types of Frauds Canadian or foreign lottery winner Advanced Fee loans and credit protection repair Employment agencies/job counsel/overseas work Money order/cashier check scams Secret shopper scams Investment scams/Ponzi scheme Pyramid scams Foreign inheritance or money scams On-line auction scams Identity Theft Prevention Tips Purchase a cross-cut/confetti paper shredder. Always cover or block your calling card numbers, ATM pin numbers, etc. Never carry social security cards or pin numbers in your wallet or purse. Only carry the credit cards and identification that you need at that time. Always shred junk mail that may have your personal information such as pre-approved credit applications and mail order catalog order forms. Never give your personal information over the telephone unless you know the person or you initiate the call. Prevention Tips Continued Never mail checks or personal information from your home mail box. Take the mail to the post office or a U.S. mailbox. Never put phone or social security numbers on personal checks. Do not use your social security number for your driver’s license number or medical cards. When using a computer always have updated virus protection, firewall, and anti-spy ware software installed and active. Do not respond to E-mail spam informing you to click this address if you do not want any more E-mails Use the Opt-out plans for junk mail and phone solicitation. Always keep personal information secure in your home. Have an unlisted phone number What if You are a Victim? Always keep good records of transactions and immediately check all credit card and bank statements for errors or fraudulent entries. Report the crime of fraud or identity theft as soon as possible to the local authorities. Immediately contact your credit card companies, financial institutions, driver’s license office, credit bureaus, and check approval agencies. Place a fraud alert with these institutions and companies. Stopping your information flow. Contact the credit bureaus and put a 90 day fraud alert on them or a 7-year alert if you are a victim of ID theft and have a police report. Use the Opt-Out option with the credit bureaus. Place your phone number on the no-call list, cell phones are not allowed. Talk with your state and federal political representatives on placing stricter laws for ID theft and freeze laws on your credit. Credit Bureau Fraud Alerts Equifax fraud division www.equifax.com 800-525-6285 P.O. Box 740250 Atlanta, GA 30374 Experian fraud division www.experian.com 888-397-3742 P.O. Box 1017 Allen, TX 75013 Trans Union fraud division www.transunion.com 800-680-7289 P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92634 Are you a victim of check fraud? Call these agencies to report the fraud. CheckRite (800) 638-4600 CrossCheck (707) 586-0551 Certegy, Inc. (800) 770-3792 National Processing Co. (800) 526-5380 SCAN (800) 262-7771 TeleCheck (800) 710-9898 Other agencies to notify U.S. Postal Inspection Service www.usps.com/postalinspectors Social Security Administration www.ssa.gov U.S. Secret Service www.secretservice.gov/ F.T.C./Consumer Sentinel www.consumer.gov/idtheft Opt-Out Agencies Missouri’s No Call List 1-866-662-2551 www.ago.state.mo.us/nocall National Do Not Call Registry 1-888-382-1222 www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/donotcall Direct Marketing Association mail Preference Service P.O. Box 643 Carmel, NY 10512 1 888 5OPT OUT (1 888 567 8688) www.optoutprescreen.com Free Credit Reports Consumers are entitled to one free credit report and two reports if you are an ID theft victim each year using a Web site at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. The toll free number consumers can call is 877-322-8228. Written requests can be sent to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P. O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Identity Theft Review Use common sense when dealing with your personal information. Know who you are giving it too. Always check all of the credit bureaus at least once a year. If you are a victim, at least twice a year. Review you credit card and bank statements regularly. Report any discrepancies immediately. Thank You and remember, only you can reduce your risk of Identity theft.