3 What is Identity Theft? Identity theft is a crime of stealing key pieces of someone’s identifying information, such as: w name, w address, w Social Security number, w birth date, and w mother’s maiden name
4 Common Forms of Identity Theft w Credit card fraud w Communications services fraud w Bank fraud w Fraudulent loans w Internet fraud
5 How Identity Theft Occurs Identity thieves… w steal wallets and purses containing your ID w steal your mail w complete false “change of address” forms w rummage through trash (“dumpster diving”) w pose fraudulently as someone else to get your information
6 More Ways Identity Theft Occurs Identity thieves… w steal business or personnel records at your workplace. w find personal info in your home. w use info you put on the Internet. w buy personal info from “inside sources.” w “shoulder surf” at ATMs and telephones.
7 How Identity Thieves Use Your Information w Change mailing addresses on credit card accounts. w Open new credit card accounts. w Establish phone or wireless service in your name. w Open new bank accounts and write bad checks. w File for bankruptcy under your name. w Counterfeit checks or debit cards. w Buy and take out car loans in your name.
8 Reducing the Risk of Identity Theft w Destroy credit card applications, receipts, bank, and billing statements. w Avoid giving your SSN unless it’s absolutely necessary -- use other identifiers. w Pay attention to billing cycles. w Guard your mail from theft. w Put passwords on credit card, bank, and phone accounts.
9 More Ways to Reduce the Risk of Identity Theft w Carry as little identification information as possible. w Limit the number of credit cards you carry. w Don’t give personal identification on the phone unless you initiate the call. w Be cautious with personal info in your home. w Check on who has access to your personal info at work.
10 Still More Ways to Reduce the Risk of Identity Theft w Don’t carry your SS card. w Save ATM and credit card receipts to check against statements. w Alert family members to dangers of pretexting. w Be informed about your financial institutions’ policies of sharing information. w Make sure your credit reports are accurate.
11 How to Get Your Credit Reports 3 National Credit Reporting Agencies: Equifax Experian Trans Union U.S. residents can receive one free credit report per year from each credit reporting agency w www.annualcreditreport.com www.annualcreditreport.com w 877-322-8228
12 If You’re a Victim... 1. Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus. 2. Contact creditors or financial institutions for any accounts that have been tampered with. 3. File a report with local police or police where the theft took place.
13 Technology Scams: Phishing, Fraudulent E-mails, etc.
14 Look-Alike (Fake) Web Sites w Spoof e-mail messages sent to “verify” or “update” account info w Appears to come from reputable company Example: eBay, Best Buy, banks, merchants w Looks “legitimate” w Scam is called “phishing” Get people to disclose sensitive data Data used to commit identity theft
15 Red Flags of a Phishing Scam w E-mails that direct users to a Web site to “validate” or “update” info w E-mails warning accounts will be closed w Grammatical errors and typos w References to 9-11, the Patriot Act, etc. w Return addresses at yahoo.com, juno.com w Words Like “Urgent” and “Important”
16 Steps To Avoid Phishing w Be cautious: African refugees with $10 million, suspended FDIC insurance, etc. w Realize that banks never ask for account info, especially in an e-mail w Don’t click on any links in suspicious e-mails w Report suspicious e-mails to companies w D-E-L-E-T-E
17 Recommended Technology Fraud Risk-Reduction Practices w NEVER click on unsolicited pop-up ads w Avoid putting your e-mail address on public Web pages (can be harvested by spammers) w Don’t use “good” e-mail address in chat rooms w Avoid short addresses like “John101” w Keep virus software & patches up to date w Never forward chain letters & virus warnings
18 Web Site Address For The Online Identity Theft Quiz www.rce.rutgers.edu/money/identitytheft/default.asp The online quiz provides both personalized feedback to users and a database for ongoing research
19 Findings w Mean scores range from 2.1 to 4.4 w Three least frequently reported practices: Checking credit report annually from 3 bureaus Post office box or locked mailbox-incoming mail Carrying SS card or ID card with SS number
20 Summary w Minimize the amount of information that can be stolen from you. w Reduce the amount of personal information “out there.” w Identity theft is a crime that must be reported. w Act immediately to stop further use of your identity.