This week, the mayor of New York announced the implementation of programs to raise New Yorkers’ awareness of identity theft and what they can do to reduce their risk of becoming victims.
We read and hear about it every day. Identity theft is an epidemic which affected 12,000 New Yorkers last year alone and Mayor Bloomberg plans to implement the following plans according to Help Net Security.
• Require signs at wireless Internet spots warning people to be cautious when making online purchases or sending any personal or financial information.
• To promote and improve encryption among businesses.
• Reaching out to businesses to implement programs that may prevent identity theft such as blocking out the last four digits of a social security number.
• Developing “Best Practices” for businesses like shredding any kinds of sensitive documents.
• To provide accessible services to victims of identity theft.
Even though you may not live in the city of New York, you can be proactive now and implement identity theft protection plans of your own. Start by buying a personal shredder and shred any banking or billing statements. If you are ever accessing a public wireless Internet hotspot, use caution when providing any personal or financial information. Better yet, wait until you are connected through a secure route before sending any information via computer.
Another important step to take is to actively monitor your identity with a product like ProtectMyID.com which notifies you of any key changes made to your credit reports, alerts you if your personal information shows up in daily Internet scans or if a change of address action is initiated in your name.
Let’s start thinking like New Yorkers and take a “bite” out of identity theft crime.