There is no absolute protection from identity theft. ID theft is a fast growing crime that takes many forms and can change right before your eyes into an even uglier monster like in some sci-fi movies. Identity theft prevention measures are required today, but they are no guarantee that you will not be a victim. It is lucrative, easy to get-away-with and, frankly, we think that the punishment does not fit the crime, given what some victims of identity theft go through to try to get their life back.
What is identity theft? What isn’t identity theft is probably a better question. It’s robbing your recycling bin out in the street, stealing your credit card bills out of your mailbox when you are at work, it’s redirecting your mail, stealing credit card receipts, rifling through your car when it is in a parking lot, all manner of credit card scams, internet fraud and email phishing just to name a few.
Often there is little one needs to supply to access a financial account. What happens when you call a credit card company or an insurance company? Typically, they want the last four digits of your Social Security number, the birthday of the card holder, the Zip Code where the bill goes and, perhaps, the card holder’s mother’s maiden name–all simple things that are available to any crook who wants to make the effort.
No one who is participating in modern society is immune from identity theft. You can be careful, quite careful, and lower your risks substantially, but you cannot completely prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
For this blog, we have interviewed scores of victims of identity theft and even some thieves who have stolen identities. The ones we talked to actually went to jail, did their time and reformed (we hope). We have identified at least 23 broad areas of vulnerability where most people get hit (there are many others!)
Here is the quick list of the 23 areas of vulnerabilities that you need to look at to help protect yourself and your family, your good name and your assets. Obviously, there are many other ways to hurt you with identity theft but these are among the most prevalent.
- Banking and financial accounts
- Young children, teens, the elderly
- Computers and wireless networks
- Credit cards, credit cards, credit cards
- Driver’s license, passports and other critical documents
- Email scams and tricks
- Residential theft
- Publicly available information
- Internet use
- Slip of the tongue in public
- Mail fraud
- Medical identity theft
- Military personnel vulnerabilities
- Paper, paper, paper
- Activities in public
- Personal files
- The telephone
- Miscellaneous scams and dirty tricks
- Security questions and passwords
- Social Security numbers
- Software “gotchas”
- Travel threats
- Wallets, purses and pocketbooks