Criminal identity theft has unfortunately increased dramatically, thanks to the huge mess our economy is in.
Reports show identity theft, especially in retail, and holiday scams are sharply on the rise.
Becoming informed is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from this horrible crime.
ID theft is like a virus that you can’t get rid of.
It has no boundaries; it doesn’t care what your age, financial situation or where you live; your identity is at risk!
See Christmas messages for more tips to protect yourself, especially during the holidays.
At this time of the year many people send Christmas gifts to family and friends in the form of checks.
This can end up being a dangerous thing to do.
If your check is intercepted at any time, the thief has all the personal information he needs to commit criminal identity theft.
Your checks have your name, address, phone, bank account number and last but not least, your signature.
Receiving catalogs is another way criminals steal your identity.
I had to cancel all the catalogs I was receiving in the mail.
The catalogs have much of my personal information on them, and many times the company that sends the catalog will give an offer of instant credit for a certain amount of money.
All this is done by phone or online, which makes it even easier for the thief.
The other threat that comes in the mail is receiving those pre-approved credit card offers.
This really increases your chances to become he next victim of criminal identity theft.
All the thief has to do is complete the paperwork, send it back and Surprise!...
They now have a new account they can run up using Your credit.
The thief can even use his address and you’ll never even know what hit you, because they won’t even receive the bill.
The shopping malls are a virtual playground for identity thieves.
The consumer needs to be aware of the many ways criminals can attack.
Your checks, debit cards and credit cards are extremely vulnerable and just waiting to be taken by a thief.
Because of the increase in criminal identity theft, I quit carrying my Social Security card years ago.
I only carry my card when I know I am going somewhere that I know requires that particular information.
Your attention is also usually diverted by the crowds, the stores you have to hit, what you’re buying for each person and shuffling all those packages.
It’s easy to forget to watch your purse, wallet and credit cards with all this going on.
A thief totally Loves this time of year.
It’s so much easier for the thief when your attention is distracted by so many other things going on.
Retailers are supposed to check your ID and verify you are really who you are.
I have had experiences where the clerk did Not ask for my identification and I brought that to the clerks attention.
If my card had been stolen by someone, the clerk would have passed by this opportunity to catch the thief and save me a multitude of headaches.
This Is For Your Protection against criminal identity theft and someone stealing and using your card.
I know many times I have stood in line somewhere when someone in front of me is being waited on and the clerk asks for the customer’s identification and the customer became irate because of this.
It was like the customer felt as if her credibility was being attacked.
I would much rather feel uncomfortable having to prove who I am, than have my identity stolen and go through the nightmare of trying to straighten that mess out.
I have almost had my identity stolen a couple of times but, because I have become knowledgeable about criminal identity theft crimes, I was able to stop this from happening to me, and you can too.
The holidays have even more people going out to ear and/or party.
There has been a scam going around, even more so around the holidays, where your account information is copied when you hand over your credit card to someone.
It turns out that buying gas and food can really be hazardous to your health. It is a perfect way to be scammed and become a victim of ID theft.
I was at a mini-mart buying a few groceries and gas and went to the counter to pay.
The woman in front of me was filling out a check to pay for a few groceries when she realized she also needed gas.
The woman stopped in the middle of writing her check, put her purse to the side of the counter along with her checkbook that was completely open and sitting on top of her purse, and flew out to get her gas.
I just looked at the clerk and said, “It’s a good thing we’re not identity thieves; this would be a perfect opportunity”.
The clerk also agreed and just shook his head. Of course I couldn’t let this pass by, as I’m the person that wants to keep everyone safe.
When the woman came back in the store I told her it was a good thing I was a trustworthy person and pointed to the purse and open checkbook laying on the counter.
I told her all I would need were the line of numbers in her checkbook and I could have easily stolen her identity the wiped her out.
I also told her how much it would cost her and how long it would take to set things right, and I was sure she didn’t want to go through this.
The woman told me she usually didn’t do that and was most careful.
Remember: it only takes one time of carelessness for theft to happen.
Please be aware at all times of what you’re doing and everything going on around you.
To learn more, go to ways to prevent identity theft for more information on how to protect yourself from this devastating crime that has far reaching effects.
Wow! Texting and Social Networking are two of the most popular avenues of communication and two of the most vulnerable.
Thieves are well aware of this information and make the most of it.
The person receiving this tends to believe it's real because the message looks so professional.
The message will give you a number to call after they tell you your credit card or bank account has been breached.
I received an email like this recently. If you call this number you are directed to give personal information for the security of your account.
Credit Card Companies and banks do not contact you in this manner.
Delete this message and don’t fall for this scam and become a victim.
As you can see criminal identity theft can run the gambit. Become informed and take steps to protect yourself against having this vicious crime happen to you.