Identity Theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world and there is so much confusion about it. What is Identity Theft? How does it really happen? Who is really at risk? And finally, what can I do to protect myself?
With ID Theft, you, the victim, must continually prove you are innocent, that you are who you are and that someone else is racking up debt and opening fraudulent accounts. We are all potential victims of this crime and Suzanne Klenk from Washington State Employees Credit Union joined Margaret to tell us how to protect ourselves and our information:
You say that Identity Theft is a Cradle to Grave crime and that protecting your personal information is more important now than ever…Can you explain?
- If you have a social security number you are at risk. Babies are now given Social Security Numbers before they leave the hospital and there are several cases where social security numbers of the deceased have been used, hence the “Cradle to Grave.”
- Protecting your personal information is so important right now because there are so many avenues for your information to be compromised.
What can an ID Thief do with your personal information?
· Get fake identification with your name and their picture
· Get a job or file a fraudulent tax return
· Apply for Medical Benefits
· Use your name if arrested
· Use your name for phone or utility payment accounts
· Open new accounts/ take over existing accts/ take out loans
How do they get my information?
- Actually, the most common and easiest way is…..they just ask.
- Go into scams by phone, e-mail
- Dumpster Diving
- Data Breaches
You say there are simple steps to protect yourself and your children from this crime. Let’s talks about a few of them:
- Limit the personal information on your checks
- Limit the use of your Social Security Number when in it actually not necessary
- Get a locking mail box or a P.O. Box
- Limit use of your child’s Social Security Number
- Have a dedicated credit card for online purchases….small limit.
For more information about WSECU, click HERE.
To contact Suzanne with financial questions, or to schedule a FREE financial workshop for your busines or organization, email her at SKlenk@wsecu.org