Avoiding Identity Theft…
As we start to descend into the holidays and gift shopping, identity theft and fraud will be on the rise.
Here are some tips to stay safe, and what to do if you are a victim. And there are things we as a society could implement to reduce this massive crime.
- Be aware that just about everyone’s personal data is for sale on the dark web. The dark web is where criminals go to purchase your social security number, driver’s license information, or your credit card numbers. When I go to my doctor and the form asks for my social security number, I do not provide it. I have no idea if a staff member has a side business selling that info on the dark web. It is NOT needed to process my claim for payment.
- Please do NOT use your date of birth on any public website. A criminal can go to your Facebook page or LinkedIn to get your date of birth.
- Do not leave your purse or wallet on the seat of your car ANYWHERE AT ANY TIME.
Jessica Roy is a reporter who interviewed experts on identity theft and was a victim herself. In a recent Los Angeles Times article, she had several suggestions. You can read one of her articles here: How to prevent identity theft – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)
Here are some additional suggestions for you to consider.
- Put a credit freeze on your accounts. That way a new account cannot be opened up in your name without unfreezing your account.
- Subscribe to a service that monitors your accounts. Based on data hacks of department stores, and recently at UCLA, I get this service for free and I also pay for an additional service.
- Add two-factor authentication to your accounts. While I find this sometimes to be annoying, it has stopped hackers from using my Facebook account.
- Do not carry your social security card in your wallet or purse.
I also wanted to share some ideas of things that can be done for us but do not currently exist.
- The government could create a system to flag the banks, police, and credit bureaus when a driver’s license is stolen.
- The creation of a centralized system that alerts you when your identity is used.
- Enhance the accessibility standards to add and/or correct information on the credit bureaus.
While there is more I can write about, this is a good start.
Have a safe and happy holiday shopping season and keep your wallet and purse secure.
To Your Prosperity,