YOUR Information First
July 2006 / issue #1

In this issue:

Tip of the month
Guest contributor
Latest id theft news
What to do...
More resources

PROTECTING YOUR IDENTITY - TIP OF THE MONTH

Avoid getting tangled up by “phishing”
Identity thieves are now using email, regular mail and the phone to “phish” for victims. By pretending to be banks, e-retailers, credit card companies, or government agencies, thieves trick recipients into divulging credit card numbers, account usernames, passwords, and social security numbers. With this information, thieves use the personal information to open accounts, receive medical treatment or commit crimes.

Don’t give out your personal information to anyone (unless you made the contact) and don’t respond to a request to verify your account number or password. Also never provide your personal or financial information to anyone who calls you on the telephone unsolicited. It is the policy of most legitimate companies not to request this kind of information in this way. They take the security of your personal information seriously and so should you.

See an example of a phishing scam

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR - STEVE SIMEK

Eliminating the Threat of Identity Theft - A Modern Fairy Tale

Identity theft is a serious crime with damaging consequences: loss of credit, problems obtaining a loan, renting an apartment, constant calls from bill collectors… the list goes on. Victims of identity theft often spend more than 100 hours making phone calls and filing documents in an effort to repair the damage.

If you are like me, you have one goal in mind: completely eliminating the potential of identity theft before it happens. Unfortunately, that’s not realistic: While each of us can and should do everything possible to reduce the chance of identity theft, it’s impossible to completely eliminate the threat. However, through awareness and education we can take positive steps to minimize the risk

Let’s start with increasing awareness. After all, you are not going to protect your identity if you aren’t aware of the danger. Fortunately, increasing awareness is easy. You’re taking the first step right now. If you are unaware of the dangers posed by identity theft, just type “identity theft” into your favorite internet search engine, visit an identity theft website, check your local newspaper or listen to the radio. The message is everywhere. More...

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR IDENTITY IS STOLEN

If you have been tricked by phishing or if your personal identifiable information has been stolen some other way, take action now. Recovering from ID theft can be a long, expensive and complicated process, especially if you wait or fail to take the proper actions. Consider these facts:

Victims can often spend anywhere from 25 hours to 600 hours resolving identity theft issues

28% of ID theft victims indicate that they haven't been able to restore their identities, despite trying for an average of more than a year, according to a June 2005 Nationwide Mutual Insurance Survey,

A victim pays over $1500 in out of pocket costs to regain their identity

More than 57 million people have received phishing emails

1 in 23 people is a victim of identity theft each year

MORE RESOURCES

Are you at risk? Take our ID theft quiz
Tips about avoiding identity theft

Merchants’ professional Recovery Advocates are ready to help you regain your identity and restore your good name. If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, call 1.866.SMART.68 (1.866.762.7868) today.