Friday, May 22, 2009

Protect Your Identity, Even From Relatives

From 5/19/2009 article, Identity Theft Hits Women Hardest, by eMarketer.

According to a study by Affinion Security Center , 17 percent of female identity theft victims lost $1,000 or more due to the crime. Contrast this figure with only ten percent of males. More men (61 percent) avoid losing money than women (53 percent).

Forty-two percent of identity theft cases are closed in less than one week, twenty percent are solved within one month, while thirteen percent take two months to six months to solve.

A survey from the Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC) found that 72 percent of victims do not know who has stolen their personal information.

Of those that do know, the theft is committed by friends, relatives or in-home employees (26.5 percent). Computer-related fraud accounts for 21.6 percent; lost or stolen wallets, checkbooks and credit card accounts make up 15.1 percent; while mail fraud accounts for 11.6 percent.

According to Affinion Security Center, to protect yourself:
  • Shred documents before disposal.
  • Monitor credit card accounts.
  • Keep personal information locked in a safe.
Suggestions from ITAC include:
  • Keep data in the home and workplace in secure location.
  • Monitor accounts for unusual activity.
  • Keep anti-virus software updated.
  • Upgrade browser and operating systems.
I would add:
  • Expand your security protection to include firewall, spyware and adware.
  • Encrypt your password files or use a utility like RoboForm to keep passwords and other personal information safe.
  • Do not download attachments from email without scanning.
  • Do not download freeware, plugins, themes, templates games, PDFs or other freebies unless you scan the download before installing it.
I have never had my identity stolen, but I did have my teenager get one of my gasoline credit cards. He did not have a car, but he managed to charge up over $100 in cokes, chips, candy and gum within two weeks. If he had not been so stupid as to use the same gas station, directly across the street from where he lived, I would not have discovered the culprit so easily.

So, I guess I should add these:
  • Keep your credit cards that you are not using locked up.
  • If you miss a credit card, cancel it. The trouble to replace is worth it.
  • Shred those credit card checks as soon as you know what they are.
  • Call credit card companies and request that they send no unsolicited checks.

1 comment:

Grace said...

This blog will be useful for everyone. Everyone should be careful and don't trust anyone. Anyone can do something bad to you so better pay attention to all people around you.

Mary from pare soleil voiture


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