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ID Theft: Lessons And Protection Measures

Friday, February 8, 2013 - 12:42 PM

Another worth-read to protect against ID Theft (SHRED).

BTW, I notice a strong trend lately for people to get away from credit/debit cards and simply pay cash for everything (in cafeteria, coffee house, supermarket, etc.). 
51hh51hh1,476 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 6,427
1. Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 10:40 AM
51:  How can people steal our credit card info by our swiping the card in stores?  It does not have our social security number, address etc. any place so they can steal our identity.  Wondering what is left behind that we don't know about when we use card.  Thanks.
paoli2paoli21,406 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,152
2. Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 12:36 PM

It is much more complicated and risky than you would imagine. Of course, some fraudulant card device or visual imaging that copies the card information is the most obvious attack. Then there is corporate hacking that breaks in the store's credit files in a massive manner. Then there are the unknowns of the internet world (with spy ware, etc.). In sum, it is a very dangerous world out there.  Trust me, it is very easy to get one's social security number and address via various means after one gets hold of the credit card information.  Cyber attack is the most present and worst danger for us all.

I fully agree with Lou on protecting oursleves from ID through all means. Further, I just subscribed the Amica's ID Protection program with daily monitoring and ID theft resolution support and insurance coverage today (in addition the Creidt Karma).  I may subscribe to more comprehensive Identity Guard or LifeLock (with monthly fees) after I retire.

It is the unseen risks which are most fearful and damanging.

Just my input.

Here is an informative article:


51hh51hh1,476 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 6,427
3. Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 1:14 PM
51:  I did not mean to belittle the extra protection recommended in these posts.  I already try to follow many of the suggestions given in the link you provided.  What I am concerned about is how many times I am expected to give my social security number to the reps who respond to my calls to my health insurance company.  We never know if they are passing them on to others who should not have them.  This identity theft problem can make one a bit paramoid.  I think I will find other ways to access information so that I won't have to give my SS to strangers.  Thanks for providing the link.  It was very helpful.
paoli2paoli21,406 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,152
4. Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 9:12 PM
Some protection measures that I don't see mentioned in the article:

a) Maintain a record of credit and debit card account numbers and contact numbers so you can notify the institutions quickly if necessary to cancel/freeze.

b) Review Social Security earnings and benefits statement carefully each year - this could be the first clue that someone has appropriated your SSN or that there has been an error.

c) Mail is an especially rich source of info which can be used for ID theft.  In my community, mail is not delivered through a slot in the door, but at the curb, which is not necessarily safe, and I can't lock it.  Therefore, with only a couple of exceptions, I receive all correspondence at a PO box, which offers greater privacy, security and convenience.  An added bonus is that I generally receive mail as much as a day earlier than my neighbors.  If I receive a package, a key to a locker is left in my PO box, which further protects my personal info, and I can retrieve the package at my convenience.   If I travel for a few days and the mail volume overflows the box, the PO places a notice in my box and I pick up the overflow during their business hours. 

The PO box and credit monitoring cost less than $20/month, and the added peace of mind is well worth it to me. 
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,491 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,486
5. Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 11:21 AM
Just Checkout the following article. You get important tips on that article

[...]Criminals know the way to steal your identity, and the worse part is that it’s not all that difficult. As a chief prosecutor, I see it on a daily basis. People were stunned how easily their information was obtained. For example, you know all those credit card applications you get in the mail? If you don’t shred them, they can use that to steal your identity. It takes about 5 seconds. In addition, your SSN, DOB, DL #, address, phone numbers, and so on are already out there. The cat is out of the bag. All you can do now is protect yourself. What is the best way to protect your identity? Get a service or do it yourself religiously. Services are cheap and effective. The truth is most people simply are not going to stay on top of it. As we always say, even if you do not use, use someone! Make sure it is not just a monitoring service. Those are useless. You want identity theft prevention AND recovery services ideally. If that is out of your budget, at least get the prevention side.

Now back to the thieves…it’s not above them to sift through garbage just to obtain a social security number or driver’s license number. Once they have these vital bits of information, it’s easy for them to steal your identity. What they will do is scary. They will apply for credit cards in your name and max the limit within days. They will obtain loans in your name and never make a payment. Then the loan company comes after you for the money. It’s something that affects millions and millions of people each year and it can be a real mess when it comes to your credit report.

As many as 85 percent of all identity theft victims find out about the crime only when they are denied credit or employment, contacted by the police, or have to deal with collection agencies, credit cards and bills. A study on the aftermath of an identity theft by the non profit Theft Resource Center found that victims spend 600 hours recovering from the crime because they must contact and work with credit card companies, banks, credit bureaus, and law enforcement. This time can add up to as much as $16,000 in lost wages or income.

The number of reported cases of identity theft is increasing steadily. There is no one reason for this, but rather this is due to several ways in which our lives have changed in recent years, all of which make it easier for people to obtain our personal information. In the United States, Social Security numbers are used more commonly as a means of identification. The Internet has made the transmission of personal information easy and, at times, less secure. Online retailers store our credit card information and contact information in databases we assume to be secure. Breaches of these systems occur daily.

Marketing databases not only contain personal information but they aggregate information on our spending habits as well as contact information. Potentially dishonest employees of these companies could have access to that information. They can then sell it online in chat rooms where criminals meet to swap information.

Provided by TRW and[...]
martinezrichardmartinezrichard6 posts since
Feb 26, 2013
Rep Points: 8
6. Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 2:44 PM
I have all my mail sent to a pob.  The trouble I have had is that banks demand a physical address-thanks to the Patriot Act- and even if you give them a mailing address they are either too stupid or lazy to use it.  I had two banks that I use to use that just could not mail my mail to my mailing address.  They insisted on sending it to a unlocked street mailbox even after I informed them numerous time not to. I finally had to write to the corporate offices and inform them that when my identity was stolen that I would do everything I could with the help of a lawyer to put the blame on them. I had done everything I could to prevent my identity from being compromised. 
diamondxdiamondx72 posts since
Jan 19, 2011
Rep Points: 170
7. Friday, May 10, 2013 - 4:27 AM
All of the topics and tips discussed in the link are extremely helpful. Identity theft is seriously on the rise and more and more people are having stolen identity. The only best defense we could do to protect ourselves is to learn the different ways we could secure our information. People should not be worried about looking silly when going to great lengths to secure their information. In this day and age and the number of identity thieves, we can never be too careful.
amyjk5amyjk520 posts since
Mar 29, 2013
Rep Points: 25
8. Sunday, June 9, 2013 - 12:43 PM
Folks:  We just got an email from a relative who we haven't heard from in weeks.  It seems they were victims of Identity Theft and warned us it is one of the worse problems they have ever encountered.  They are still in the midst of trying to resolve it.   He warned us to "protect our social security numbers" at all costs.  Problem is there are places who will not converse with us unless we give them our SS.  The US needs to come up with another source for people to use for these business and healthcare purposes which can be used instead of SS numbers.  The other problem is that one can never know just "how" the theft gets the SS number since so many people are involved with seeing it nowadays.  What a mess!
paoli2paoli21,406 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,152
9. Monday, October 7, 2013 - 5:13 AM
Everyday your inbox is stuffed with several number of spam emails and you may be never notice that every email need few of information from you. Like SS, Name, address, Telephone numbers, and Date of birth in some cases. All this is set up for to steel your inforamtion to use your idetity for the illegal practices over the internet and you never have an idea that it can damage you throug a grater loose. Many people not know how they can protect their identity from stealing .  You can sig up for account of identity theft protection number of companies now day providing their services for that purpose. Chase, Wells fargo and bank of america providig protection and insurance plans in this context. 
jenniemartinjenniemartin1 posts since
Oct 7, 2013
Rep Points: 2