Thursday, December 3, 2009

Facts About Identity Theft

When we hear the term identity theft we often think credit card or loan fraud, fraudulent bank account transfers. Identity thieves are sophisticated and often will use your information for subtle and lasting crimes like utility or telephone fraud, employment fraud or government document and benefit fraud. Identity thieves will take anyone's information, young or old and in some cases, deceased.

Following are facts about identity theft and theft prevention.

- Identity theft happens every two seconds in the United States. An average major league baseball park at full attendance is a frightening visual of the daily number of victims to identity based crimes.
- You won't know you are a victim until it is too late. Repairing credit and collection demands is a long, arduous process where you, the victim, must prove your innocence.
- A safe Identity protection plan will protect you and your family.
- Identity theft is real, some of the high-jackers aboard flights on 9-11 stole identities to carry out their acts of terror on US citizens.
- Learn more about how to avoid phishing scams, efforts made by identity thieves to get your personal information via email.
- If you read an email from someone who has a large estate and needs your bank information to find a home for several million dollars, don't respond. Delete the email. If the emails persist, get a stronger spam tool or contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
- Carry only necessary credit cards and pieces of identification when you leave your home.
- Lock your glove compartment when you valet park. Your home address and auto insurance information are in your glove compartment and are ripe targets for an identity thief.
- Shred any mail you intend to throw in the trash. Physically separate the strips of paper and spread in different containers. Remember, criminals are relentless and have lots of time on their hands.
- Remove your SIM card and all of your personal information from cell phones that you no longer use.
- Destroy your hard drive and recycle according to local laws any unused PC's or PDA's.
- Never use your home phone number as an account number. Grocery store loyalty programs generally ask for this. Use your mobile phone number.

The tips and facts are real. The need for an identity protection plan is great and few Americans own one. Select your plan today so you and your loved ones are not the next victims.

Seamus McGinley is an expert on identity theft prevention. Learn more about how to protect yourself at

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