Today's global marketplace makes doing business around the world a
reality for everyone. One of the unfortunate side effects of the
information age is identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone
takes your name, social security number, date of birth or other personal
information, like credit card numbers, insurance information or bank
account numbers and uses it to establish new credit, run up debts or
take over existing accounts. It can ruin your good credit record and may
leave you with unwanted bills and a lot of headaches.
Identity theft is the fastest growing white collar crime in the country.
According to recent reports nearly 700,000 individual accounts have been
put at risk. In addition, many police Offices do not have the expertise
or resources to investigate each case. In fact, violators are caught
less than ten percent of the time. Donít be a victim of this crime, take
steps to minimize your risk. Awareness and proper handling of your
personal information is key to protecting yourself from fraud and
What Can Be Done To Prevent Identity Theft?
- Treat personal information as if it were the most valuable
commodity in your life
- Routinely check your Credit Report. (www.annualcreditreport.com)
- Smart Size - Reevaluate credit accounts regularly - if too many
get rid of ones not used frequently and carry only the ones you need
- Close unused bank accounts. Immediately close accounts and
establish new ones if your wallet or purse is stolen.
- Keep your receipts, bank statements and credit card numbers in a
safe place. Shred them when you are ready to dispose of them.
- Ask for the carbons if merchants are not using carbonless forms
when you make a credit card purchase.
- Review your credit card statements, utility bills and bank
statements for accuracy or for any unusual activity. Immediately
report any discrepancy.
- Never give out your personal information over the phone. This
includes people who call you to solicit a purchase or a donation.
Also, beware of people calling to "confirm" personal or phone number
and address information.
- Verify with the Ohio Attorney General or local Better Business
Bureau that they are legitimate.