Americans Are Still Making Identity Theft Easy

How We Hand Our Information Over For Identity Theft

Just when we thought almost everyone was on top of their identity-theft prevention game, it turns out that scores of Americans are still handing their personal information to the wolves. Our social security numbers are what identity theft criminals want most, and we are sometimes all to willing to oblige them. Make sure you’re not playing into their hands by answering the questions we’ve laid out for you.

Where Do You Keep Your Social Security Card?

If you said that you keep your social security card in your wallet or in a unlocked drawer in your home, you’re putting your self at risk of identity theft. What if someone swipes your wallet or breaks into your home and ransacks that drawer? Common thieves are no longer just interested in hocking your jewelry and electronics. They can now sell copies of your social security card to identity theft criminals if they get their hands on it.

What Information Do You Have on Your Checks?

If you answered name, address and phone number, you’re fine. However, if you also have your driver’s license number of social security number on your checks, you’re putting yourself at risk of identity theft. Anyone you write a check to, including cashiers at any given store, can copy that information down and have every detail they need from you in order to commit identity theft.

What Is Your Employee Identification Number?

If your employee identification number is the same as your social security number, you’re putting yourself at risk of identity theft. It’s not hard to figure out that a 9-digit employee identification number may be a social security number in disguise, and anyone you give that number to can easily steal your identity or pass the info along to someone else who will.

When’s The Last Time You Checked Your Credit?

If your answer is more than six months ago, you’d better get on the ball and pull your credit reports immediately. If you’re not checking your credit reports regularly, how do you know someone isn’t using your good name to rack up a huge bill right as you’re reading this?

If you gave the wrong answer to any of the above questions, and in this case there is indeed such a thing as a wrong answer, take immediate steps to correct the situation. It’s alarming how many people continuously put themselves at risk of identity theft without even realizing it.

Comments

What about seniors who must carry their Medicare card with them in case they have an emergency and are admitted to a hospital?

Why do these people ask for that information such as your driver's license and your social security number on your handwritten personal check anyway?

My husband and I had an identity theft experience a few years ago and it all started with someone stealing our mail. The thief then went to our local post office and filed a change of address form for my husband's first class mail (not my mail with different name or any of our 2nd and 3rd class mail so we weren't aware for awhile). Once the thief got a credit card statement, he called and told them he moved and gave them the new address. He called back several weeks later to say he lost his card while moving and requested a new one which they sent to the new address. $61,000 later we got a call from American Express politely asking when we planned to pay the balance. It seems to me that change of address forms at the post office should only be accepted if they are notarized and presented with proper photo ID. This could be helpful in reducing identity theft that begins with mail theft.

It would be nice if someone would address the use of the social security number as the Medicare number for people over 65.The government has put us at risk. Many Doctors offices and other businesses insist on your Soc. Sec. number.

-Naomi Ruth Lepes

The post office is responsible for this. My post office says they will not issue a change of address without I.D.

If it were me, I'd contact the General postal inspector and force them to investigate this. Have them look over the tapes to see if they have a picture of the person who changed the address. If the post office refuses to accept responsibility, I'd consider talking at a lawyer and your local news channel.

I was recently sent a check for 4500.00 and was asked to deposit and what I've done is contacted the FBI and they sent me to a website and I put in the information they requested. Meanwhile, I went to the bank that issued the check and found that there may be an account with that number for some kind of insurance claims. It seems no one cares I have this check. What should I do? I mean couldn't the check be deposited and tracked to where these scammers live and breathe? I don't understand but maybe I don't need to. Some guidance would be appreciated. Thanks so much! Obviously, I wouldn't deposit the check to see if it clears as it could clearly be to my detriment or worse.

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