By Gabby Beltran, Identity Theft Resource Center
Identity theft is a complex problem and it can affect the emotional stability of the victim and that of the victim’s family. At one point or another, victims of this crime may experience helplessness, anger, rage, betrayal, depression, isolation, vulnerability, and an inability to trust those around them. Feeling overwhelmed, experiencing a psychological pain of loss, and a loss of control over their life are common emotions. It is important to understand that identity theft is a life-altering crime.
Last week, I was speaking with a good friend and member of ProtectMyID. She was mugged three years ago and became a victim of identity theft shortly thereafter. Her data has been sold multiple times and many people across the country have tried to open accounts in her name. Some have been successful and some have been stopped before the damage was done. Believe it or not, she is still affected by identity theft today. In fact, she was recently telling me that despite the fraud alerts on her credit files, ProtectMyID recently alerted her to another account that was opened in her name and submitted to collections. The timing of this was disastrous for her as she was in the middle of refinancing.
Members of the ProtectMyID team were at the AARP Life at 50+ event that took place last week. As a blogger, I was interested in attending and speaking with folks on the exhibit show floor. Hundreds and hundreds of attendees stopped by the booth. Some wanted to learn more about identity theft and ways to protect your identity. Others came right up to me and said, "Let me tell you what happened to me." The common thread between the dozens of people that told me about their experiences with identity theft is that they NEVER thought it would happen to them. Never. I say this a lot, but let me say it here again. Identity theft can happen to anyone.
Jenny*, a ProtectMyID member was recently alerted to a change of address action that an identity thief initiated in an attempt to steal her identity and open new credit card accounts.
The FTC reports that more than 9 million people each year fall victim to identity theft. Before working in the identity theft protection industry, I was like most people. I thought, “It’ll never happen to me.” At that time, my idea of identity protection was finely tearing up bills and placing half of the pile in one garbage can and the other half in another. Times certainly have changed.
(ARA) - Parents send their children to college hoping they'll learn enough in the classroom to get their degree, and enough about life to make their way in the world once they graduate. But firsthand knowledge of identity theft is one lesson parents don't want kids to have, and they should take steps to help their college-age children avoid it.
A recent newscast about online pictures and the threat they can pose to privacy (geotagging) was the topic of conversation at a dinner party the other night. Some of my friends happen to have tweens who are very active online. Many of the parents did not know that when their kids post pictures of themselves online, they can inadvertently post their location and leave themselves at risk. Other friends hadn’t thought about the risks of posting pictures real-time, thus revealing that their home was empty.
It’s not every day that you need your birth certificate. But, when you do need it for a passport application or a new job and can’t find it, where do you turn? Today, many of us have a natural instinct to turn to the Internet to find what we need, whether it’s a restaurant review or new shoes. You can even order your birth certificate online, but carefully review the business before you do. Always conduct online transactions with care to avoid problems with data security and identity theft.
There’s one place where you likely spend at least 25% of your time in any given week. It’s your workplace, and it only makes sense for you to protect your identity while you’re there. You should also expect your employer to do the same.
Your teenager is ready to head off to college. Is his/her laptop ready too? Whether you just bought a new laptop for the school year or your teenager is taking an existing one, it’s good to review the security measures that are currently in place.