|7/26/2007 – Identity theft: it’s the fastest growing white collar crime in the United States. These days thieves have many different ways to steal your identity. They can get your information by stealing your wallet or purse, digging through your trash or mail and even by taking it right off your computer.|
One method is called phishing. That’s where the thieves are hoping you’ll answer the request and give out your information.
Another approach is called the trojan horse, where something is sent to your computer to download. Once it’s downloaded, without you even knowing it, it is automatically stealing your identity.
There are ways to protect yourself:
1. Make sure you have spyware on your computer.
2. Check your credit card and back statements often.
3.Only deal with legitimate businesses on the internet.
4. Never give out your social security number unless it’s absolutely necessary. If possible, ask for a different identifying number if your SSN is being used.
5. Shred credit card of any other financial offers. Thieves can use them to apply for credit in your name.
6. Limit the number of credit cards you have and cancel the ones you do not use. The fewer cards you have, the easier it is to keep track of them.
7. Lock up your SSN ca, birth certificates, passport and other personal documents that contain important information.
8. Never just throw away documents with personal information on them, like old bank statements or tax returns. Shred them first.
9. Pick up new checks at the bank instead of having them mailed to you.
10. Check your credit report and credit number regularly.
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