We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but at this point preventing identity theft is out of the question. If you have a Social Security number, your time is coming.
Seemingly unimportant details of our identities are kept in file cabinets or databases around the country, or worse around the globe. Just to name a few risks, these records may be in:
- Student records where you attended high school, trade school or college.
- Employee files where you work.
- Anywhere you have ever applied for work.
- Anywhere you have ever applied for any sort of credit.
- Anywhere you have ever had a medical procedure performed.
- On a birthday calendar at your school, church, or workplace.
- In court, real estate, or voting records.
- Any Internet transaction.
By definition, identity theft is the use of someone’s personal information by another to commit any act of fraud. Identity theft is not just about credit cards, as the TV commercials might lead you to believe. Somewhat overlapping, any identity theft falls into at least one of the following five categories:
- Drivers License.
- Social Security.
- Medical Records or Insurance.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft victims spend countless hours and thousands of dollars in the quest to clear their name.
While we are making the point; preventing identity theft is very unlikely, we don’t want to discourage you from taking steps to reduce your risks. Some of these would be:
- Criss-cross shred any incoming mail that might include any personal information.
- Guard your Social Security and driver’s license information. Never give the information to anyone in which you did not initiate the transaction.
- Deposit out-going mail at the Post Office, or in secure Post Office collection boxes. Never raise the red flag at home.
- Block your credit so that only you can use it. Invoke PIN controlled credit freezes with the credit bureaus. Opt out of any pre selected offers.
- Don’t respond to phishing emails.
If you are a victim, you will need to stop the thief in his tracks:
- Immediately involving law enforcement. Get a case number that will be required in everything else you do.
- Notifying involved institutions and government agencies that your identity has been compromised. Enter fraud alerts and freeze your credit.
Unless you are a forensic accountant, with lots of spare time, you’ll also need lots of professional help. Contact RMCN Credit Services for assistance should you become a victim.