Consider these sobering statistics

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1 Idetity Theft is a form of fraud or Idetity theft cotiues to icrease every year ad has impacted millios of Americas. cheatig of aother perso s idetity i which someoe preteds to be someoe else by assumig that perso s idetity, typically i order to access resources or obtai credit ad other beefits i that perso s ame. The victim of idetity theft ca suffer adverse cosequeces if he or she is held accoutable for the perpetrator s actios. Orgaizatios ad idividuals who are duped or defrauded by the idetity thief ca also suffer adverse cosequeces ad losses, ad to that extet are also victims. Cosider these soberig statistics Idetity theft cotiues to be the fastest growig crimes i the world 11.1 millio adults i the US aloe were victims of idetity theft i 2009 The total fraud amout was $54 billio The average victim spet 21 hours ad $373 out of pocket resolvig the crime 4.8% of the populatio was a victim of idetity fraud i % of idetity fraud crimes were committed by someoe the victim kew Idetity theft usually takes the form of five major categories: Busiess/commercial idetity theft (usig aother s busiess ame to obtai credit) Crimial idetity theft (posig as aother perso whe appreheded for a crime) Fiacial idetity theft (usig a other s idetity to obtai credit, goods ad services) Idetity cloig (usig aother s iformatio to assume his or her idetity i daily life) Medical idetity theft (usig a other s idetity to obtai medical care or drugs)

2 How Idetity thieves get your persoal iformatio: They steal wallets ad purses Someoe is usig my ame ad social security umber to ope credit card accouts ad has charged early $20,000 o my cards. cotaiig your idetificatio ad credit/bak cards. They steal your mail (bak ad credit card statemets, pre-approved credit offers, telephoe callig cards, tax iformatio, etc.) They complete a chage of address form to divert your mail to aother locatio. They practice dumpster divig (rummagig through your trash for persoal data). They frauduletly pose as a ladlord, employer or someoe else who may have a legitimate eed for ad a legal right to your credit report data. They fid persoal iformatio i your home. They obtai your busiess or persoal iformatio at your work. They use persoal iformatio you share o the Iteret. They steal or access your Smart Phoe How idetity thieves use your persoal iformatio: They call your credit card issuer ad, pretedig to be you, ask to chage the mailig address o your credit card accout. The imposter the rus up charges o your accout. Because your bills are beig set to the ew address, it may take several moths before you realize there is a problem. They ope a ew credit card accout, usig your ame date of birth ad SSN. Whe they use the credit card ad do t pay the bills, the deliquet accout is reported o your credit report. They establish phoe or wireless service i your ame ad ru up huge bills. They ope a bak accout i your ame ad write bad checks o that accout. They couterfeit checks or debit cards, ad drai your bak accout. They buy cars by takig out auto loas i your ame. What ca you do to help prevet becomig a victim? Buy a cross-cut type shredder (you ca purchase cross-cut type shredder very cost effectively for approximately $60 - $70.) Shred all your importat papers ad especially pre-approved credit applicatios received i your ame ad other fiacial iformatio that provides access to your private iformatio. Do t forget to shred your credit card receipts.

3 Be careful of Dumpster Divig. Make sure that you do ot throw aythig away that someoe could use to become you. Aythig with your idetifiers must be shredded (cross-cut) before throwig away. Be careful at ATM s ad usig Phoe Cards. Shoulder Surfers ca get your Pi Number ad get access to your accouts. Get all of your checks delivered to your bak - ot to your home address. Do ot put checks i the mail from your home mailbox. Drop them off at a U.S. Mailbox or the U.S. Post Office. Mail theft is commo. It s easy to chage the ame of the recipiet o the check with a acid wash. Whe you order ew credit cards i the mail, or your previous oes have expired, watch the caledar to make sure that you get the card withi the appropriate time. If it is ot received by a certai date, call the credit card grator immediately ad fid out if the card was set. Fid out if a chage of address was filed if you do t receive the card or a billig statemet. Cacel all credit cards that you do ot use or have ot used i 6 moths. Thieves use these very easily - ope credit is a prime target. Memorize social security umbers ad passwords. Put passwords o all your accouts ad do ot use your mother s maide ame. This ca be easily determied usig public records Make up a fictitious word. Get a post office box or a locked mailbox, if you possibly ca. Ask all fiacial istitutios, doctors offices, etc., what they do with your private iformatio ad make sure that they shred it ad protect your iformatio. Tell them why. Empty your wallet of all extra credit cards ad social security umbers, etc. Do ot carry ay idetifiers you do ot eed. Do t carry your birth certificate, social security card, or passport, uless ecessary. Whe a perso calls you at home or at work, ad you do ot kow this perso, ever give out ay of your persoal iformatio. If they tell you they are a credit grator of yours call them back at the umber that you kow is the true umber, ad ask for that party to discuss persoal iformatio. Provide oly iformatio that you believe is absolutely ecessary. Shoulder Surfers ca get your Pi Number ad get access to your accouts.

4 NEVER put your social security umber o your checks or your credit receipts. If a busiess requests your social security umber, give them a alterate umber ad tell them why. They do ot eed that to idetify you. If a govermet agecy requests your social security umber, there must be a privacy otice accompayig the request. Get credit cards ad busiess cards with your picture o them. Do ot put your credit card accout umber o the Iteret (uless it is ecrypted o a secured site.) Do t put accout umbers o the outside of evelopes, or o your checks. Do ot put checks i the mail from your home mailbox Whe you are asked to idetify yourself at schools, employers, or ay other kid of istitutioal idetificatio, ask to have a alterative to your social security umber. Ufortuately, your health isurace carrier ofte uses your social security umber as your idetificatio umber. Try to chage that if you ca. I cojuctio with a credit card sale do ot put your address, telephoe umber, or driver s licese umber o the statemet. Sig up for a Idetity Theft Protectio service Moitor all your bak statemets from every credit card every moth. Check to see if there is aythig that you do ot recogize ad call the credit grator to verify that it is truly yours. Order your credit report at least twice a year (I have eclosed the addresses for you o the sample letter.) Review it carefully. If you see aythig that appears fraudulet, immediately put a fraud alert o your reports by callig the umbers below. Do ot put your telephoe umber o your checks. Immediately correct all mistakes o your credit reports i writig. Sed those letters Retur Receipt Requested, ad idetify the problems item by item with a copy of the credit report back to the credit reportig agecy. You should hear from them withi 30 days.

5 , Security attacks o smart phoes climbed to a all-time high i 2010, accordig to AdaptiveMobile, ad iteratioal mobile security firm. Watch Your Phoe! Attacks o Google s Adroid smartphoes quadrupled, ad smartphoes ruig Java-based applicatios jumped 45%. The tred is projected to get eve worse as prices for smartphoes cotiue to declie ad more ad more people buy them. Now that smartphoes double as wallets ad bak accouts -- allowig users to maage their fiaces, trasfer moey, make paymets, deposit checks ad swipe their phoes as credit cards -- they are very lucrative scores for thieves. Ad with 30% of phoe subscribers owig iphoes, BlackBerrys ad Droids, there are a lot of people at risk. Here s some steps you ca take to help prevet a thief from accessig your smartphoe: S et up a password ad keep your phoe locked whe you are t usig it A void usig a usecured Wi-Fi coectio especially whe accessig sesitive ifo N ever dowload aythig from a utrusted source uless you wat a virus D elete everythig off your old smartphoe before you get rid of it The majority of smartphoes o the market have a feature that lets you wipe your phoe remotely. That way your persoal iformatio ca be erased eve if it is lost or stole. You ca also sped a little moey ad get ati-virus protectio for your phoe. New Websites:

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