How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft!

United States
March 17, 2007 2:23pm CST
As some of your know I posted a discussion about a scam on Ebay and (coincident??) I received an email today from AARP and (coincidently??) it specifically refers to Ebay. Identity Theft Identity theft is big business. Losses to businesses total $50 billion annually, the Federal Trade Commission reports. In the last five years, 27 million Americans have had their identities stolen. To those whose identity is stolen, the aftermath is aggravation, confusion and hours of wasted time. You, too, could be a victim of id theft. It occurs when someone pretends to be you, using your Social Security number, your credit cards and your bank account numbers to borrow money, open new credit card accounts or charge thousands of dollars to buy cars, clothes or vacations. Stealing Your Good Name The identity thief gets your personal information in many inventive ways. Rings of identity thieves often go to city dumps or apartment dumpsters to comb through trash to get receipts with names and financial information. Email fishing expeditions are another way. PRETENDING TO BE EBAY USERS or businesses you have used, the crooks email you saying that a question about your account has come up and they just want to make sure your information is correct. Identity thieves are skilled liars. Identity thieves also do the following: Steal your purse or wallet Pilfer information from your mail box such as bank statements and pre-approved credit card applications Act as your employer, loan officer or landlord to get your credit report Watch your transactions at automated teller machines and phone booths to capture your ATM card personal identification number (PIN) Guarding Yourself In the face of the increasing epidemic of id theft, what can you do? The first thing is to get as much information about identity theft as you can. Read articles in the newspapers and magazines. Watch TV programs that discuss identity theft. Check your credit report at least once a year and correct any errors. Next, don't give out your Social Security number unless it's absolutely required, for example by the federal or state governments. Don't have your number printed on your checks. Get a new driver's license that doesn't show your number. Some businesses routinely include Social Security numbers on their application forms, for example, a well-known video rental chain. Ask any business why it needs your number. When customers resist, managers usually waive it. Other steps you can take include: Carefully get rid of papers with personal information. Tear up or shred charge receipts, bank statements, expired credit cards, credit offers. Cut back the number of cards you carry. Don't routinely take your Social Security number, birth certificate or passport with you. Be aware of others who are nearby when you're using your PIN. Don't throw your ATM receipt in the wastebasket. Don't give your credit card or bank account number over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you confirm you are dealing with an actual representative of a legitimate business. Secure personal information in your home, especially if you employ outside help or are having work done in your home.
4 people like this
13 responses
@sunsham68 (1378)
• India
18 Mar 07
wow. thats a lot of great information. Thanks for sharing. Its disgusting how low people will stoop to grab what we work so hard to earn, and forewarned is forearmed!
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Mar 07
I had a roomate once who has access to all my information she opened a credit card and my name and charged it out to the max took a vaction to tx...why anyone would want to go to tx is beyond me...probalby just to you know...The only way I found out is she left a pile cards on the mantle and I saw a visa with my name on it...I should have done something about it then but didn't and she never paid of the card...sheesh...I'm such a dummy...
@jennybianca (12915)
• Australia
18 Mar 07
This is very useful information. I had money stolen from my E-Gold account last year. It was only $7.00, but the fact that I was foolish enough to believe an email I received, really riles me. Also be careful of emails purported to be from Paypal. Many are not. I always report suspicious emails to Paypal so they can follow it up. Never , never believe emails from any bank, including your bank, that claim they need to check your credit account to verify your identity.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
18 Mar 07
thanks for this report! I had a dealing with someone I called about refinancing our house and they said they had all info but our daughter was on the first note and this feller asked for her SS and I told him if he had the paper work it would be on there which finally he found it but this gets me if they have all the info why do they ask for it again and again? I dont give it out they should have it on the first papers put out when we financed the house in the first place right?
1 person likes this
@weemam (13378)
17 Mar 07
This is a brilliant discus ion , I think you replied to mine pal when I wrote about the eBay one , I am sure if I had not been a member of My lot I would never have sensed there was something wrong with my bogus email , and it is thanks to discus ions like this that I was not duped into loosing my cash xx
@gabs8513 (48717)
• United Kingdom
17 Mar 07
Heather thank you for this and I will take al the Advise given there, but it is bad that we have to do all that question it every single time
1 person likes this
@mummymo (23709)
17 Mar 07
Well done for highlighting not just the information whiteheather but also ways of protecting yourself! These people are such good hustlers that you probably would never catch on unless your suspiscions were already high and to remember we all need that little nudge about keeping our information secure!
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (97960)
• United States
17 Mar 07
I even knew of a lawyer's wife who had her identity stolen. I try to be careful. The state my credit is in, no one would give new cards or accounts to someone with my name and number. If you need to use a credit card for something online, you can get a pre loaded one, then it limits how much can be charged beyond what you have wanted. I buy them at the grocery store, they are like a debit card or a gift card. Some banks offer a reloadable card. I would limit how much I put on it at any one time. Good post.
@claudia413 (4284)
• United States
18 Mar 07
Whiteheather, I also received the notice from AARP (coincidentally?), and I did respond to your eBay distussion...LOL. It's full of good information for everyone. So much of it is "common sense", but we all know there isn't much of that left any more.
@junior07 (974)
• India
18 Mar 07
thanks for ur valuable information,ya now a days these things are happening and you should aware how to protect urself from these things.
@lauzpauz (115)
18 Mar 07
Excellent advice and tips, I think it will help a lot of people
@classy56 (2883)
• United States
18 Mar 07
thanks ,i try to never give out information on the internet/phone/or anywere.just to be on the safe side.i always pay by paypal on ebay with money i have in my account.never my credit card.. i dont want to end up being a victim.
17 Mar 07
Thanks for this information as I am always warey of ebay.