Identity Theft Protection Requires DiligenceSeptember 9, 2018
An average of 80 million documents with sensitive information are compromised each year in the U.S. This leaves U.S. citizens including those in the Wasatch Back at risk for identity theft.
As we’ve reported four men were arrested and charged with 17 felonies in Summit County two weeks ago. The majority of the charges were related to identity theft by the individuals. KPCW spoke with a National Fraud Institute certified identity theft risk management specialist, Deanne Foster, about identity theft.
“Thieves want our numbers. A lot of people think identity theft is about credit and credit cards and getting loans and that sort of thing and it is that, but it’s not the credit they want, it’s your numbers. We just heard about the recent identity theft issue with the four illegals there in Summit County. They used the social security numbers and what did they do with those numbers? They got jobs for one thing, is what they did. That’s one thing that they can do now if a thief is using your information and your social to get a job and they’re not paying taxes on that then that’s a negative impact on the victim. So, when we understand it’s about the numbers, our drivers license number our health insurance number our date of birth our address. These are all numbers that identify us. If thieves can get these numbers they can do anything with those numbers that we do but we become responsible. So, when we understand that then we can say ok so how do I protect my numbers?”
Foster says that you can’t eliminate the threat of identity theft, but you can significantly reduce the risk.
“Probably the best tip I can give is to treat your numbers like they are loose cash. Treat each of your numbers and your identifying numbers, the identifying numbers of your children, any information, other people that you have responsibility for protecting their numbers. Treat those numbers like its loose cash. If it was $1,000 or $10,000 would you just leave it sitting out? Would you just leave it sitting in your car? Would you just leave it sitting on your desk? If you’ll treat that information like its loose cash I think that’s a really good visual for people.”
Foster also suggest shredding your documents into what she describes as confetti, so thieves can’t tape the strips together, she also suggests you be careful on social media not to inadvertently give out important information. Foster also says that your identity can be stolen even after you’ve passed away.
“Believe me there are a lot of people who have passed on who are victims of identity theft. Nobody’s going to complain about it for a long time because its not going to be discovered for a long time. Just watch out for numbers that you’re sharing that inadvertently you are sharing. If you don’t care, you don’t care. Just understand that’s what thieves are looking for.”
Children are also favorite targets of those who steal identities.
“Thieves love children’s…