Based on news reports about large-scale security breaches one might think that identity theft happens to everyone and we are doomed to have it happen to us. In fact according to a news article, identity theft affects only about three percent (3%) of the population.
Credit card fraud vs identity theft – According to the Wall Street Journal of the 3% of individuals that are affected by identity theft a quarter of that group ‘only’ had credit card fraud and not complete identity theft committed against them. Though alarming, this is a lesser problem.
Do you need a protection service – That’s up to you. But if you are watchful your common sense vigilance might be all that is needed.
Online vigilance – So when you pay for things online experts recommend credit- and not debit- cards. Experts report that there are more regulations protecting you when using a credit card than a debit card. Passwords are key to your information. So don’t save them in public or office computers. Experts recommend they be changed frequently, and that you keep them hidden from view. Well-meaning people sometimes fall to temptation. Be careful.
Review statements – Check your accounts or account statements regularly. You are the best person to know if there is a suspicious charge on your account. But you have to take the time to look things over carefully.
If it happens to you – The Federal Trade Commission has a September 2013, one hundred thirty two page guide for professionals, called, ‘Guide to Assisting Identity Theft Victims.’ This guide is available as PDF for download at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0119-guide-assisting-id-theft-victims.pdf The guide includes how to report to the credit reporting agencies, what protocol to follow and where to get help. I like knowledge and information and you may find this helpful if something happens to you.
Marion Syversen, MBA
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