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									Protecting yourself from Identity Theft
Cindy Shrum, MPA/MIS
What is Identity Theft

• When criminals obtain a person’s personal
  information such as their social security
  number or credit history to steal their
Why steal someone’s Identity?

• Financial Fraud

• Criminal Activities
How does it happen?
•   Dumpster Diving

•   Skimming

•   Phishing

•   Changing Your Address

•   “Old-Fashioned” Stealing

•   Human Error - You leave your credit card receipt at a restaurant, gas pump, retail store, etc.

•   Pre-approved credit card offers fall into the wrong hands by getting them out of the mail box or trash can.

•   With a person’s name, social security number, and date of birth, someone can get loans, access the person’s bank
    account or open new bank accounts, lease or buy cars, get insurance, etc.
Public Information
• Public records – driver’s license information, real
  estate records, business records, vehicle
  information, professional certifications and
  licensing information, etc.
• Information that is publicly available –
  newspapers, classified advertisements, phone
  book entries, etc.
• Open-source information – periodicals, websites,
Health Records
• American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  (ARRA) – Stimulus Bill
  – Privacy & Security Provisions
    • Breach Notification
    • Penalties
  – Health Information Technology for Economic
    and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act
How do I protect myself?
• Protect your social security number.

• Protect your credit card number.

• Keep your personal information in a secure place.

• Check your credit report.

• Monitor your credit card bills.
How do I protect myself?
• Monitor your accounts.

• Shred identifying papers.

• Never give out personal information over the phone.

• Don’t mail bills or documents that contain personal data
  (tax forms or checks) from your personal mail box.
How do I protect myself on the Net?
• On-line payment forms.

• Use the latest Internet Browser.

• Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails.

• Look for digital certificates.

• Read the privacy policy.
How do I protect myself on the Net?
• A designated credit card.

• Never give out passwords or user ID information.

• Don’t use an obvious password.

• Keep records of all your Internet transactions.

• Check for confirmation e-mails.
What if it happens to me?
•   Report it to the police.

•   Close all existing credit card accounts.

•   Report it to all three credit bureaus and get a copy of your credit report.

•   Close any accounts that the thief has opened in your name.

•   Report it to the Social Security Administration.

•   File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
• Annual Credit Report Request Service
   PO Box 105281
   Atlanta, GA 30348-5281


   TIP: Get one report every four months rotating between
     the three agencies.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
• Equifax
    Tel: (800) 997-2493

• Experian
    Tel: (888) 397-3742

• TransUnion
     Tel: (800) 680-7289
Fraud Alert Report
• A fraud alert report is a red flag with credit
   –Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
   –Experian: 1-888-397-3742
   –TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

   HINT: This will prevent YOU from getting credit without
   proper notification.
Reporting to the FTC
• Identity Theft Clearinghouse
  Federal Trade Commission
  600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
  Washington, DC 20580

  Toll-free: 1-877-438-4338
       or 1-866-653-4261

  Web: www.ftc.gov/idtheft
The Law
• Identity Theft & Assumption Deterrence Act – Identity
  Theft became a federal crime in 1998 and carries a
  maximum term of 15 years imprisonment, a fine, and
  criminal forfeiture of any personal property used or
  intended to be used to commit the offense.
• May violate other statutes such as identification fraud,
  credit card fraud, computer fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud,
  etc. Some carry penalties up to 30 years imprisonment.
• Identity Theft Task Force.
Reduce Telemarketing
• National Do Not Call Registry
  – (888) 382-1222 or www.donotcall.gov

• If called by a company you do business
  with, ask to be on its internal Do Not Call
Opt Out of Pre-approved Credit Card Offers

• (888) 5-OPT-OUT/(888) 567-8688 or opt
  out online at www.optoutprescreen.com
Reduce Junk Mail
•   Write to the Mail Preference Service. Send a $1 check or money order. Include the name(s) and
    address of household members who do not want to receive junk mail. Tell them to put you on the
    opt-out list.
     –     Direct Marketing Association
         Mail Preference Service
         P.O. Box 643
         Carmel, NY 10512
•   Or opt-out online: www.dmachoice.org.
•   Abacus complies a cooperative database of catalog and publishing companies’ customers. To opt-
    out of the Abacus database, write to:
     –     Abacus
          P.O. Box 1478
          Broomfield, CO 80038
     -     1-888-780-3869
•   Or opt-out online by sending an email to abacusoptout@epsilon.com. Include your full name
    (including middle initial) and current address (and previous address if you have moved within the
    last 6 months).
The Future
• Biometrics – fingerprints, iris/retina, facial
  structure, speech, facial thermograms, hand
  geometry and written signatures.

   References: Obringer, Lee Ann (2004). How Identity Theft Works. Retrieved from How Stuff Works on June 8, 2004.
           www.annaulcreditreport.com on March, 2010.
           www.equifax.com on March, 2010.
           www.experian.com on March, 2010.
           www.transunion.com on March, 2010.
           www.ftc.gov/idtheft on March, 2010.
           www.donotcall.gov on March, 2010.
           www.optoutprescreen.com on March, 2010.
           www.dmachoice.org on March, 2010.
           www.epsilon.com on March, 2010.

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