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Five Facts of Identity Theft

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2014 | Identity Theft

In the wake of the ongoing crisis facing Target stores, now more than ever consumers need to be aware of the basic facts of Identity Theft.  Despite the fact identity
is often discussed, misconceptions about this rapidly growing crime are everywhere.  Protecting yourself can be as simple as understand the basic facts.

While identity theft was initially a crime where your credit card was stolen and used to make purchases until you discovered it was missing or until the card reached its limit, today the damage is much more extensive.  All an identity thief needs is a single piece of your personal information, like a credit card number, social security number or account number and he or she can begin opening accounts and taking out loans in your name. Below is a list of facts that may help you avoid becoming the next

Fact 1:  You do not need to provide your credit card number for your identity to be stolen Identities can be stolen simply by gaining access to your personal information.  Make sure important documents, such as birth certificates, social security cards, passports, and other financial documents are kept in a safe place.  The information contained in these documents can be used to steal your identity and open accounts in your name.

Fact 2:  Providing non-financial information can often be enough to steal your identity. While it may seem harmless, providing your complete date of birth,
address or phone number can often open you up to becoming a victim. Make sure when sharing any personal information it is incomplete, for example just the month and year of your birthday or the last four digits of your social security number.

Fact 3:  Your mailbox can open you up to identity theft Watch your mailbox. Suburbanites are at risk of becoming victims of identity theft by mail. Thieves can easily lift
mail from your box, including credit card statements, bank statements or bills that contain all of your personal information making it easy to open up accounts in your name. If you are awaiting checks make sure you know when they are expected to arrive so that the important documents don’t sit in your mailbox.

Fact 4:  Review your finances regularly Make sure to review your accounts on a regular basis to ensure all charges belong to you. Thieves often begin stealing your identity by first charging small amounts to see if they are successful.

Fact 5:  If you are skeptical of an ATM machine do not use it Follow your instincts.  If you feel uneasy about using an ATM machine, you should not use it.  If a machine looks or seems strange chances are it may be the result of fraudulent activity. If you use a machine and feel that you may have been the victim of fraud, notify the bank immediately so they can watch your account and issue you a new card.

If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft and need more information contact SmithMarco P.C. for a completely free case review.