Tags: identity | theft

Fight Identity Theft

Friday, 18 Apr 2008 10:57 AM

By Bruce Mandelblit

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that as many as 9 million — yes, 9 million — Americans have their identities stolen each and every day!

In fact, according to figures released by the FTC, identity theft topped the list of its most common consumer complaints.

It’s easy to understand why crooks love ID theft. Your personal information such as your Social Security number, your bank and credit card account numbers, and even your name, address and phone number, can be possibly used to commit fraud.

Identity theft, which occurs when someone rips-off your personal data for criminal purposes, is the fastest growing crime in the United States. These identity thieves steal your personal information to open new credit accounts, order merchandise and even borrow money, all in your name and without your authorization or knowledge.

Many times, sadly, innocent consumers are not even aware they have been victimized by identity thieves until they are contacted by collection agencies trying to cover debts they did not even know they had.

The FTC encourages folks to make sure their transactions, both online and off, are secure and that personal information is protected.

As with any other crime, prevention is the key, so here are some tips from the FTC folks to help you protect your personal data:

1. Before you reveal any personally identifying information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared with others. Ask about the company’s privacy policy.

2. Read the privacy policy on any Web site directed to children. Web sites directed to children or that knowingly collect information from kids under 13 must post a notice of their information collection practices.

3. Put passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information like your mother maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number or your phone number, or obvious choices like a series of consecutive numbers or your hometown football team.

4. Minimize the identification information and the number of credit cards you carry to what you will actually need. Do not put all you identifying information in one holder in your purse, briefcase or backpack.

5. Keep items with your personal information in a safe place. When you discard receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, bank checks and statements, expired charge cards, credit offers you get in the mail, and mailing labels from magazines – tear or shred them.

6. Consider ordering a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies every year. Make sure it is accurate and includes only those activities you have authorized.

A Quick Security Tip: Some identity theft authorities suggest you review copies of your credit reports even more frequently than once a year.

7. Use a secure browser when shopping online to help guard the security of your transactions. When submitting your purchase information, look for the “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar to help ensure your information is secure during transmission.

A Quick Security Tip: Some scoundrels have been known to place fake “lock” icons on their phony websites, so always use extreme caution when revealing any important information online.

For more information, log on to www.ftc.gov.

My Final Thoughts: In today’s high-tech world in which we all live, the challenge of safeguarding your personal information is paramount. Identity thieves are just waiting to obtain your personal data for their unlawful use.

Identity theft is a particularly ugly crime. A victim of identity theft may have to spend many hours and hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars trying to restore their good name and reputation. These identity thugs are not just stealing something from you; they are, in effect, stealing “you.”

Note: If you manufacture or distribute any security, safety, emergency preparedness, homeland defense or crime prevention related products, please send information on your product line for possible future reference in this column to CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.

Copyright 2008 by Bruce Mandelblit

“Staying Safe” with Bruce Mandelblit (www.Mandelblit.com) is a regular column for the readers of Newsmax.com and Newsmax.com magazine.

Bruce welcomes your thoughts. His e-mail address is CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.

Bruce is a nationally known security journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve law enforcement officer.

Bruce writes "Staying Safe," a weekly syndicated column covering the topics of security, safety, and crime prevention.

Bruce was commissioned as a Kentucky colonel — the state’s highest honor — for his public service.

This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Researchers Use Twitter to Predict Crime

Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 07:46 AM

Hidden in the Twittersphere are nuggets of information that could prove useful to crime fighters -- even before a crime  . . .

Ex-Soldier: My Friendly-fire Shots Might Have Killed Pat Tillman

Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 07:41 AM

A former U.S. Army Ranger who was in the same platoon as ex-NFL player Pat Tillman has stated in a television interview  . . .

Boston Marathon Looks to Shake Shadow of Deadly 2013 Bombing

Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 07:23 AM

Runners, from the world's elite racers to first-timers, will step to the Boston Marathon starting line on Monday for the . . .

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved