Protection From Identity Theft
TULSA, Okla.) June 6 – Some of you may be getting e-mails from someone claiming to be with the IRS, asking for your social security number and other personal information.
The problem is, the IRS doesn’t send e-mails. This is just one of the many ways thieves are trying to steal your identity.
About nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Thieves go after the easiest targets and right now the Federal Trade Commission reports anyone from 25-35 years old is at the highest risk.
Now, the average cost of recovering from identity theft is more expensive than ever, almost $700. So it pays to know how to protect yourself.
“My son lost his identity when we was 14 years of age. Got a bill, came in the mail, a Sprint bill that he never ordered”, said Ron Kite.
Ron said, “It took me about 18 months calling all the different bureaus, calling all the different things we had to do to get his identity to a point that was so he wouldn’t have any problems.”
That experience was enough to convince Ron to educate himself and protect others from identity theft, so he now offering legal help to victims. “Identity theft is one of the easiest crimes to commit. It’s kind of like carbon monoxide. It sneaks up on you. You don’t know it. Someone can actually steal your identity from halfway around the world and never enter your home.”
Knowing what thieves are doing is half the battle. The Federal Trade Commission points out about a half dozen ways thieves can target you.
Some old-fashioned ways including dumpster diving, and stealing your purse or wallet. Some technology savvy criminals try skimming to steal your card information when you swipe. And just like that fake IRS e-mail, phishing and pretexting happens when a criminal pretends to be someone they’re not.
you’re a victim, don’t plan on the thief to pay up once they’re caught. “Statistics say they only catch one out of 700, and when they do get caught they spend very little time in jail”, Ron said.
Steering thieves away can be simple. FTC studies show a few simple things can help:
Shred financial documents.
Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet.
There are many more ways to keep thieves away. To read more about protecting yourself, and what to do if someone’s stolen your identity, just click on links and reminders.
If you’re a victim of identity theft, the FTC recommends filing a complaint. To do that you can call the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft hotline at 1-877-ID-THEFT, that’s 1-877-438-4338.