Important! You Could be Next. Id Theft is Happening.

Just thought you needed to know some interesting tied-bits of ID Theft and how it can happen to you. Since many people use their Credit Cards online and they don't think twice on using it when they see a deal. Scams are breeding in numbers and they no longer show their face until they suck your good name dry. Please take a few seconds and read these few paragraphs.

If you are a business owner:
- Destroy Credit Card numbers ASAP by shredding the slips that contain these numbers.
- Destroy or lock up your clients information so it isn't easily accessible. If you store information on a computer, make sure your operating system is "password protected" and make sure your files are encrypted.

If you are a consumer:
- Use only one credit card for all internet purchases.
- Password protect your computer and encrypt your files.
- The more firewalls the better. One for your modem and one for your computer.
- Sign up with myFICO and pull your scores and reports every 4 months.
- Freeze your identity to prevent credit card offers coming through the mail and make it harder (and stop) for thieves from filling out credit card accounts.

"In what likely will be a prickly issue with many Americans, Congress next week is expected to vote on a bill that would limit consumers' ability to request a credit freeze, according to a published story Wednesday.

USA Today reported that the proposed Financial Data Protection Act of 2006 pre-empts laws in 17 states that allow anyone to freeze their own credit and instead permits only ID theft victims to request a freeze.

If it becomes a law, vets and military personnel who live in states that permit unrestricted credit freezes would lose that option, the newspaper said.

Critics of the measure said the bill tramples states' rights and undermines the consumer-protection role of state attorney generals, the report said.

Other critics, including Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna, equated the measure to "telling someone you can't put a deadbolt on your front door until after you've been burglarized," the report said.

According to the report, a credit freeze cuts off access to a person's credit history. Since most banks and merchants insist on seeing a credit report before issuing credit, identity thieves can't open bogus accounts using stolen data.

But under the bill, which is backed by the financial services industry, simply having your data lost or stolen isn't enough. Theft victims must file a police report describing a specific instance of it being used to commit a crime." Credit CNNMoney


1) How much money does the typical victim of identity theft lose?
A- $1,657 B- $950 C- $422 D- $0

ANSWER: D. More than two-thirds of ID theft victims didn't lose a dime last year. (Of course, that means some people did end up out of pocket: The average loss was $422 vs. $675 in 2004.) Why? Federal law limits your liability--$50 for credit cards; $500 for debit cards--if you report the fraud within 60 days. And most issuers offer even stronger protections, guaranteeing that you won't be on the hook for any of the bill. The real cost to you is time and stress: It takes the average victim 40 hours of effort to restore his or her good name.

2) What is the most common way your identity is stolen?
A- Dumpster diving B- Stolen mail C- Lost or stolen wallet, checkbook or credit card

ANSWER: C. Among victims who could pinpoint the source of ID theft, 30% blamed a lost or stolen wallet, checkbook or credit card. Dumpster diving, in which your personal info is lifted from documents you throw out, made up less than 1% of cases, down from 2.6% in 2004, as some 70% of people now shred paper files (keep shredding!). However, in 8% of cases, info is stolen out of mailboxes before you have a chance to shred. Since credit-card offers make it easy to open an account in your name, call 888-5-Opt out to stop unsolicited card applications.

3) What type of identity theft is the most difficult to detect?
A- Fraudulent accounts opened in your name B- Charges to a credit card you already have C- Hacking into your checking or savings account

ANSWER: A. It takes an average of 152 days for victims to find out that a new account has been opened in their name. That's because only a credit report or notice from the lender or a collection agency will alert you to the new account's existence. Reduce your vulnerability by regularly checking your credit report--by law, you're entitled to a free report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year (go to annualcreditreport.com or, if you have trouble getting onto the site, call 877-322-8228). Your best bet is to stagger requests, getting a report from a different bureau every four months.

4) Identity theft on the Internet is growing.
A- True B- False

ANSWER: B. Online fraud made up 9% of ID theft cases in which the source was known last year, down from 11.6% in 2004. People who bank online typically uncover fraud in 22 days vs. more than a month for paper accounts. You can reduce your susceptibility to online fraud by using updated anti-spyware and anti-virus software. If you bank online, you will be even safer by year-end, when all banks will be required to ask for a secondary piece of identifying information, in addition to your password, before you can gain access to your account.

5) What age group is most susceptible to identity theft?
A- 25 to 34 B- 35 to 54 C- 55 to 64 D- 65-plus

ANSWER: A. Contrary to popular belief, seniors had the lowest rate of ID theft, while 25- to 34-year-olds were most at risk. Why? The lifestyle of many Gen X-ers--going out often and trading personal information on MySpace.com and other social networking sites--creates more opportunity for identity thieves, says Javelin Strategy & Research, whose 2006 ID theft study supplied the data for this quiz. In cases where the perpetrator's identity was discovered, for example, 20% were service employees, such as a waiter or cashier. A pity that someone you think is there to serve you is really out to con you.

Reduce your chances of becoming a future victim of identity theft:
To reduce your chances of becoming an identity theft victim, safeguard your personal information such as your Social Security number and your drivers license number. Don't print your drivers license number on your checks or carry your Social Security number in your wallet. Shred mail you receive that contains your Social Security number, credit account numbers, or other personal information. Don't respond to email asking you to use a link to go to a site and give bank account, credit card account, or password information. Order copies of your credit report every year, and report in writing any errors you find. Cancel credit cards that you don't use regularly, don't carry more cards than necessary, never write your PIN on your card or carry it in your wallet or purse, get off junk mailing lists, opt out of prescreened credit card offers and use a locked mail box. Don't give out personal information unless you are sure who you are dealing with, and then only if necessary. Ask your employer how it safeguards the personal information in your employee records.

http://www.consumersunion.org/finance/id-theft03.htm

Join an IDtheft Prevention Company like LifeLock Identity Theft Prevention which provides $1 million in expenses so you never have to worry.

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