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2 According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): IDENTITY THEFT occurs when someone wrongfully acquires and uses a consumer s personal identification, credit, or account information The FTC is a government agency that promotes consumer protection Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 2

3 The FTC provides a consumer identity theft education website: Includes great information for those who suspect they may be a victim of identity theft, are a victim of identity theft, or want to learn more about identity theft Has a Deter, Detect, Defend theme Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 3

4 Name Identity thieves try to obtain personal information from victims in order to steal their identities Bank Account Numbers Credit Card Numbers Personal Information Address & Telephone Number Social Security Number Birth Date Driver s License Number Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 4

5 What daily activities require an individual to share personal information? Making purchases with a check, credit or debit card Applying for a credit card or loan Online or telephone shopping Paying bills through the mail or online Going to the doctor Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 5

6 Thieves obtain personal information through a variety of methods: Stealing - Information is taken from a purse or wallet, personnel records from a workplace, tax information, bank or credit card statements, or pre-approved credit card offers from the mail Diverting Mail - Thieves can complete a change of address form and have the victim s bills and statements mailed to a different location Dumpster Diving - Personal information is discarded and thieves remove it from the trash Skimming - Thieves attach a device to card processors to steal credit and debit card information Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 6

7 Methods continued... Phishing - Thieves use a form of electronic communication (usually ) to pretend to be a company or depository institution in order to get the victim to give up their personal information Pretexting - Thieves use false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources Spyware - Software installed on the victim s computer, without their knowledge or consent, that monitors internet use, sends pop up ads, redirects the computer to other sites, and tracks key strokes Hacking - Information is stolen by breaking into a computer system Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 7

8 What can identity thieves do if they obtain personal information? Apply for a new driver s license Open new bank accounts Apply for credit cards or store credit accounts Obtain cash with bank cards Get a job Rent an apartment Take out student loans File for bankruptcy Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 8

9 Key Guidelines Protect your Social Security number Only give it out to trusted organizations and only when absolutely necessary Protect financial information Sign the back of credit and debit cards with signature and Please see ID Close unwanted accounts by writing and by phone Cut up credit, debit, and ATM cards and dispose of the pieces in separate places Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 9

10 Key Guidelines Safeguard your purse and wallet Carry only what you'll actually need when you go out Don't carry your Social Security number or card, birth certificates, or passport Verify a source before sharing information Don't give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or on the Internet unless you've initiated the contact Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 10

11 Key Guidelines Be careful using the Internet Only give out personal information when making a purchase and only on a secure site (indicated by a https or a picture of a lock after the URL or in the bottom right corner) Use a credit card instead of a debit card when making online purchases Watch for clues that might indicate a computer is infected with spyware Many pop-up ads, unexpected toolbars or icons, keys that don't work, random error messages, and sluggish performance If it is suspected that a computer is infected with spyware, immediately stop shopping, banking or doing any other online activity that involves sensitive information Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 11

12 Key Guidelines Keep usernames and passwords safe and select intricate passwords For passwords, choose a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols that are not easily identified Use different usernames and passwords for different sites and change them regularly Select security check questions with answers only you would know Treat your trash and mail carefully Shred all documents that you are discarding that contain personal information A cross-cut shredder is safest Deposit mail containing personal information in secured mailboxes Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 12

13 Key Guidelines Protect your identity Search your name occasionally to see if your name, picture, or other information is being used by someone else Keep all documents containing personal information in a safe place where others cannot easily access them Check credit reports Check credit reports for errors at least once a year with all three reporting agencies To stay constantly informed, request a credit report from one of the three reporting agency every four months Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 13

14 Experian PO Box 2104 Allen, TX Report Order: Fraud Hotline: Equifax PO Box Atlanta, GA Report Order: Fraud Hotline: Trans Union PO Box 390 Springfield, PA Report Order: Fraud Hotline: To order a credit report from any of the three reporting agencies, use the following website: Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 14

15 Brainstorm how to minimize the risk of identity theft in regards to each information source Share! Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 15

16 Early detection is key! Watch for the following signs New accounts or charges you didn t make Calls from collection agencies Incorrect information on your credit report Being denied credit when there is no reason to be Missing bills or mailed statements Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 16

17 1. Act immediately! Keep a detailed record of correspondence and phone records Follow up all communication with letters sent via certified mail Contact the three major credit bureaus and request a free fraud alert be added to credit report Fraud alert - warns creditors to verify an individual s identity before issuing credit Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 17

18 4. Close all accounts which have been tampered with or opened fraudulently File a police report with the local police File a complaint with the FTC: Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 18

19 Credit Cards Truth in Lending Act limits liability for unauthorized charges to $50.00 per card A letter must be received by the creditor within 60 days of the first bill containing the error The dispute must be resolved within 90 days of the creditor receiving the letter Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 19

20 ATM and Debit Cards The Electronic Funds Transfer Act provides protection The amount a person is liable for depends upon how quickly the loss is reported Within two days: maximum $50.00 Within sixty days: maximum $ After sixty days a person may be liable for everything Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 20

21 Checks Contact the financial institution and stop payment Most states hold the financial institution responsible for losses of a forged check Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 21

22 IDENTITY THEFT occurs when someone wrongfully acquires and uses a consumer s personal identification, credit, or account information Once an identity thief obtains personal information, they can complete many malicious acts with the information There are many ways to DETER identity theft Early DETECTION is key There are basic rules to follow in order to DEFEND against identity theft if it does occur Family Economics & Financial Education September 2010 The Essentials to Take Charge of Your Finances Identity Theft Essentials Slide 22

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