Articles Posted in Identity Theft

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Representative Sam Johnson has an interesting bill that he says will decrease the likelihood of identity theft in an unusual area — identity thieves who are stealing the identities of people who have . . . died.

HR 2720, co-introduced by Johnson and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), is named after a deceased child victim of identity fraud and would delay the now-required publication of the SSA’s Death Master File.

If the bill passes, beginning January 2014, only death information released three years after the person has died would be made available – giving family members adequate time to file tax returns and preventing criminals from stealing the returns or information.

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Nick LaFleur has a great article on the danger to college students from identity thieves that I recommend you read.

According to the FTC’s 2013 Consumer Sentinel Report, 21 percent of identity theft complaints in 2012 were filed by young adults- the most of any age group. What’s more, a 2010 survey by Javelin Strategy found that young adults aged 18-24 took the longest to detect identity theft-132 days on average-when compared to other age groups.

There are seven suggested steps to guard against this that Nick lists.

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My friend Denise Richardson has a good post entitled “Keep Yourself Safe From Debit Card Fraud” that we recommend to you.

She describes the differences in credit cards and debit cards (when there is a theft) and also gives some practical tips to avoid being defrauded on your debit card.

Some good things to learn and I realized I need to tighten up my habits on using my debit card….

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Fox Business has posted an article that gives some pointers on what you should never carry in your purse or wallet on a daily basis. Some personal items you may carry can significantly increase your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft if your wallet or purse is stolen. Some of the items that can put you at risk aren’t surprising, but others are.

1. Your Social Security Card You may carry it around in case you need another form of identification, but really it’s better to just memorize the 9 digits and leave the card at home in a safe place. If your SS Card falls into the wrong hands, someone can take a loan out in your name and cause all kinds of identity theft issues.

2. Your Passport If you’re travelling outside the US it’s much safer to lock your passport in the hotel safe and instead carry a photocopy of it along with your driver’s license instead. If you’re mugged overseas and your passport is taken, it can turn into a vacation nightmare. If you’re travelling domestically, your driver’s license is a sufficient form of identification; leave the passport at home.

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The Consumer Rights Law Blog has posted an article that discusses why it’s so important for you to keep your Social Security number private. The information your SSN reveals about you is surprisingly detailed and it falling into the wrong hands can have devastating results.

For example, the first three digits of your SSN tell what state you were born in. An identity thief just having your name and SSN and knowing what state you’re from can’t amount to anything, right? After all, you can’t open up a new credit card with just a Social and a home-state.

However, in the hands of an identity thief who has access to technology, just this little bit of information can have devastating results to your credit. Finding out information about somebody is surprisingly easy thanks to the internet. In no time at all they could uncover a street address, a birthday, a spouse’s name and childrens name’s, a workplace, or even hobbies.

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Our friend Denise Richardson of givemebackmycredit.com has posted an article that discusses some of the different ways identity theft can impact your life.

Not only does identity theft cost you money due to false charges, it also consumes a huge amount of your time to fix once you have discovered the problem. Calling the bank, credit card companies, and creditors and proving that the debts aren’t yours can feel like it’s consuming your life.

As irritating as credit card identity theft can be, it’s nothing compared to how devastating Social Security identity theft is. Correcting this type of identity theft can take months, and maybe even years, because it takes so long for it to be noticed. It can also happen multiple times, since the identity thief has access to your Social Security number, birth certificate, and/or medical records, etc.

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Our friend Denise Richardson of givemebackmycredit.com has posted an article about how those serving in our military and their families can be more vulnerable to becoming victims of identity theft.

A recent study from West Point professor Lt. Col. Gregory Conti found that military personnel who are deployed overseas are more likely not to keep an eye on their accounts, whether it be from lack of time or lack of resources. The military also uses Social Security Numbers for basically everything from important paperwork to trivial things like buying food at the grocery store on base.

The military is taking steps to reduce its dependence on using SSNs. Every time it is required to be used by military personnel in everyday use is currently being evaluated and is expected to be cut in half. For instance, starting this spring, SSNs will no longer be put on military IDs.

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Our friend Denise Richardson of givemebackmycredit.com has posted an article about the 5 most common tax scams and how you can recognize and avoid them for the upcoming tax season.

1. Phishing

Phishing can come from several places, such as social networking sites, fake websites, or email addresses. A tax phishing scam happens when a scammer tries to convince someone they are owed a tax refund but they have to provide personal information to prove their identity before the refund can be claimed. Providing personal information opens the door for identity theft. You can prevent this by being wary of emails supposedly sent by the IRS. Don’t click on any links in the email or provide any personal information. Clicking on the link can infiltrate your computer with viruses or spyware that can obtain personal information from your internet activity and files.

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Our friend Denise Richardson, of givembackmycredit.com, has posted a helpful article where she gives eight reasons why you should take identity theft seriously. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the country, according to FBI statistics. While it hopefully will never happen to you, the possibility is still there and you should take precautions and know what to do after it happens.

Here are eight reasons why you should take identity theft seriously:

1. It’s not just about credit.

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The Los Angeles Times has posted an article about a recent case of identity theft that involved Mr. Donald Bren, a wealthy and well known real estate mogul in Orange County, California. He has been ranked as the 45th richest man in the world, the 16th richest American and is estimated to be worth $12 billion.

In a truly bizarre twist, what seems to have happened is that a man (who looks nothing like Mr. Bren) walked into a branch of East West bank, opened accounts in Bren’s name and then deposited a $1.4 million tax-refund check that he had somehow managed to steal from Bren. The thief used $1.1 million of the check over the next few weeks.

He used a fake driver’s license and Social Security number to open the accounts, and even put “smoke shop” as his occupation. The identity thief didn’t mention Bren’s job has the chairman of Irvine Co., which is a massive land development company, and over the next few weeks proceeded to transfer money to account-holders of outside banks. Authorities are still working on finding out who controls the accounts.

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