8 Tips: ID Theft Survey Shows This Crimeâ€™s Still Skyrocketing
Give criminals credit for adapting. It has become clear that stealing personal information is easier, more profitable, and less risky than mugging or burgling them. Unfortunately, the effect of this realization on the criminal community is that phishing and identity theft continue their astonishing growth.
A new nationwide survey by First Data Corp. confirms the news. According to First Data, fully 6.8% of all U.S. adults have been victimized by ID theft, and more than 43% have received phishing e-mails.
The grand total of citizens who’ve been victims of some sort of identity theft or fraud: a staggering 54 million.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to pass along expert tips on avoiding identity theft:
- Don’t carry your Social Security card with you, or print this number on your checks.
- Every year, get a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies. Each agency has a Web site, or you can order all three atwww.annualcreditreport.com.
- Using the toll-free telephone number 888-567-8688, you can ask not to be mailed unasked-for credit offers. This is a good idea because ID thieves often use these mailings to steal data.
- If your state offers a do-not-call list to protect you from telemarketers, sign up.
- Don’t give out credit-card or bank-account numbers over the phone unless you are positive you’re speaking with a trusted merchant.
- Tell your bank, insurance company, and stock broker not to share your personal data with other firms.
- Close rarely-used credit-card accounts. Study your statements carefully to spot unauthorized activity.
- Invest in a personal shredder to destroy sensitive records before discarding them. Remember, 70% of all ID theft occurs not through high-tech means, but through old-fashioned tactics such as dumpster diving.
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