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Lt. Tracy Moon: Don't be a Victim of Identity Theft
Helpful information Topics include: Common ways identity theft happens and criminal activities which frequently occur as a result of ID theft; ways to protect yourself from identity theft. And resources available
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From Lt. Tracy Moon of Greensburg Police Department
Lt. Tracy Moon of the Greensburg Police Department shared the information on identity theft and fraud along with helpful hints to protect oneself from the crimes at the Caregivers Meeting this past week, on Wednesday, May 3, 2017, at the Adair County Extension Office. The following is a summary of the details presented at that meeting:
The terms "identity theft and identity fraud" refer to crimes in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's data in a way that involves fraud/deception, usually for economic gain.
Common Ways That Identity Theft or Fraud can happen include:
- Shoulder surfing: In public places, for example, criminals may engage in "shoulder surfing" - watching you from a nearby location as you punch in your phone calling card number or credit card number - or listen in on your conversation if you give your credit card number over the phone.
- Picking up your mail or using your trashed junk mail: If you receive applications for "pre-approved" credit cards in the mail and discard them without tearing up the enclosed materials, criminals may get them and activate the cards for their use without your knowledge. Also, if your mail is delivered to a place where others have ready access to it, criminals may simply intercept and redirect your mail to another location.
- Email fraud: Many people reply to "spam" (unsolicited E-mail) that promises a benefit once they have your identifying data. In many cases, the requester has no intention of keeping this promise. In some cases, criminals reportedly have used computer technology to steal large amounts of personal data.
- Grandparent scam: You get a phone call from someone posing as a grandchild who is supposedly out of town and in a desperate situation. They could claim to be locked in jail, have had a car accident or are in need of medical treatment. They'll want money wired to them immediately.
- Jury duty scam: This time the call is supposedly from someone at the courthouse who claims you failed to report for jury duty and a warrant has been issued for your arrest.
- Lottery scam: While the previous scams prey on fear and concern, this one aims to convince you that you've won money in a foreign lottery. The call will come from someone who sounds official. They'll ask you make a payment up-front for supposed taxes and fees so you can collect your winnings.
- IRS scam: This scam is quite similar to the jury duty scam, but takes advantage of most Americans' fear of the Internal Revenue Service. The caller purports to be from police or an IRS agent who is demanding payment for overdue taxes. If they're not settled immediately, the caller claims, you'll be arrested. They'll want the money either wired or put on a prepaid card.
- Utility scam: This is another fear-based scam that involves convincing you that the utility company is about to cut off service due to unpaid bills. The scammers will naturally want money sent to them by money transfer or a prepaid card.
Criminal activity examples include those listed below.
With enough identifying information about a person, a criminal can take over that person's identity and conduct a wide range of crimes, including:
- False applications for loans and credit cards,
- Fraudulent withdrawals from bank accounts,
- Fraudulent use of phone calling cards or online accounts, or buying goods or privileges.
Here are five ways to make protecting your identity part of your everyday routine:
- Read your credit card and bank statements carefully and often.
- Know your payment due dates. If a bill doesn't show up when you expect it, look into it.
- Read the statements from your health insurance plan. Make sure the claims paid match the care you got.
- Shred any documents with personal and financial information.
- Review each of your three credit reports at least once a year. Visit annualcreditreport.com to get your free reports.
For more prevention tips - and resources you can share with others - visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft .
What Can You Do If You've Become a Victim of Identity Theft?
- Call the companies where you know the fraud occurred.
- Place a fraud alert and get your credit reports at these three agencies:
- You may want to add your phone number for free by visiting donotcall.gov, or calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register.
This story was posted on 2017-05-06 17:10:49
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