Guard My Identity Overview of Identity Theft
Overview of Identity Theft. This serious crime is costly to the nation’s economy and to all Americans. An ID theft strikes nearly 10 million U.S. consumers annually and Imposes $50 billion in unnecessary costs on the nation’s businesses every year. On Average 15,000 to 20,000 consumers contact the FTC about this crime each week
Guarding your Identity Daily
In the course of a busy day, you may write a check at the grocery store, charge tickets to a ball game, rent a car, mail your tax returns, change service providers for your cell phone, or apply for a credit card. Chances are you don’t give these everyday transactions a second thought. But an identity thief does. Identity theft is a serious crime. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years – and thousands of dollars – cleaning up the mess the thieves have made of a good name and credit record. In the meantime, victims of identity theft may lose job opportunities, be refused loans for education, housing, or cars, and even get arrested for crimes they didn’t commit. Humiliation, anger, and frustration are among the feelings victims experience as they navigate the process of rescuing their identity.
Despite your best efforts to manage the flow of your personal information or to keep it to yourself, skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to gain access to your data like your tax ID number or SSN.
- They may steal your mail, including bank and credit card statements, credit card offers, new checks, and tax information.
- They may rummage through your trash, the trash of businesses, or public trash dumps in a practice known as “dumpster diving.”
- They may get your credit reports by abusing their employer’s authorized access to them, or by posing as a landlord, employer, or someone else who may have a legal right to access your report.
- They may steal your credit or debit card numbers by capturing the information in a data storage device in a practice known as “skimming.” They may swipe your card for an actual purchase, or attach the device to an ATM machine where you may enter or swipe your card.
- They may steal personal information from you through email or phone by posing as legitimate companies and claiming that you have a problem with your account. This practice is known as “phishing” online, or “Pretexting” by phone.