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Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. The U.S. Secret Service has estimated that consumers nationwide lose $745 million to identity theft each year. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the average victim spends 607 hours and averages $1,000 just to clear their credit records.

Identity thieves employ a variety of methods to gain access to your personal information. They may get information from businesses or other institutions by stealing it; by bribing an employee who has access to records; into records; or conning information out of employees. Once identity thieves have your personal information, they may use it to commit a fraud or theft in your name.


Creative Commons License photo credit: Mikey G Ottawa

Internet - Good Or Bad?

How can you tell if you have become a victim of identity theft? Some signs include unexplained charges or withdrawals from your financial accounts; bills or other mail stop arriving (the thief may have submitted a change of address); a credit application is denied for no apparent reason, or debt collectors begin calling about merchandise or services you didn’t buy.

The Best Managed PC Care on the Planet!

Your computer can be a goldmine of personal information to an identity thief. To protect yourself and your computer against identity theft consider:

” Updating virus protection software frequently. Consider setting your virus protection software to update automatically. The operating system also can be set to check for patches automatically and download them to your computer.
” Not opening files sent to you by strangers, clicking on hyperlinks, or downloading programs from people or companies you don’t know.
” Using a firewall program, especially if you use a high speed Internet connection like cable or DSL that leaves your computer connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.
” Providing your personal or financial information through an organization’s secured website only. While not fool proof, a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a URL for a website that begins “https:” (the “s” stands for secure), may provide additional security.
” Not storing your financial information on your laptop, unless absolutely necessary.
” Deleting all the personal information stored on a computer before disposing of it. A wipe” utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive is recommended.
” Checking with an anti-fraud education organization such as Card Cops (www.cardcops.com). runs a web site designed to help consumers determine whether their credit card numbers may have been stolen. They monitor Internet “chat rooms” where identity thieves illicitly trade and sell stolen credit card numbers. CardCops turns the information over to law enforcement authorities, but also allows consumers to access their database to see whether individual card numbers may have been stolen. In the first two months of operation, the site identified more than 100,000 stolen credit cards.

As with any crime, you can not completely control whether you will become a victim, but you can take steps to minimize your risk by remaining diligent and by minimizing outside access to your personal information. The Best Managed PC Care on the Planet!

Other Posts Around From The Web:

New Identity Theft Law Creates Lawsuit Threat For Small Businesses – (June 11, 2008) – In an effort to combat Identity Theft, the final provisions of The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) expand the Identity Theft component of the Act. According to these new provisions, companies that …

Coloradan Takes ID Theft to Court – CBS4 reports that Sheldon Chrysler of Denver, a recent victim of identity theft, filed a federal lawsuit against DirectTV, AT&T, and the credit reporting companies when he couldn’t get his name cleared on his own. …

Identity Theft Red Flags Survey: Are You on the Right Path? – Aimed at gauging the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule progress of US financial institutions, this survey cuts to the heart of this new mandate, asking business leaders to weigh in on:. What have been their biggest Red Flags challenges? …

Child Identity Theft – KSL has a story on the risks of child identity theft. I neglected to announce the Identity Theft evening on this blog, so as penance here is KSL’s take on it. KSL.

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  1. 8 Comment(s)

  2. By ScribesUnlimited on May 22, 2008 | Reply

    LifeLock’s service, guaranteeing they could protect you 100% from online crime, has backfired miserably. Report today on Yahoo talks all about it. Like I said: online security is a joke. If someone wants to mess up your life, they will. :-)

  3. By descorpio on May 24, 2008 | Reply

    All these measures have to be taken immediately as they are vital.One cannot lose his personal information.Dealing with phishing is almost possible these days.But we need to be sure on one point.Delete all the materials before disposing it.But there is also a way to recover the deleted items.So always be watchful.

  4. By Online Security on Jun 17, 2008 | Reply

    I dont think there is anything that can protect you 100%. If someone wants tomess up your life they will.

    Online Securitys last blog post..Journal Entry: You Have My Permission to… NOT… “Click Here”

  5. By Online Security on Jun 17, 2008 | Reply

    I think no matter how many steps you take if your going to be a victim your going to be a victim

    Online Securitys last blog post..Journal Entry: You Have My Permission to… NOT… “Click Here”

  6. By Credit Repair and Credit Score on Mar 12, 2009 | Reply

    Very nice information. Thanks for this.

  7. By markez linda on Apr 13, 2009 | Reply

    Just grabbed the feed… thanks for posting this.

  8. By Best Identity Theft Protection Service on Apr 20, 2009 | Reply

    Just grabbed the feed… thanks for posting this.

  9. By Best Identity Theft Protection Service on Apr 20, 2009 | Reply

    I like this theme you are using… what is it?

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