Identity Theft

More often than not, an individual experiences an invasion to something that we all hold dear, our identity. An alerting statistic in 2008 stated that identity theft cases have increased by 22 percent. That fact does not disprove the theory or common knowledge that identity theft may replace terror threats as a breach to every Americans’ right to security and may become the new national security threat.

It is especially important that individuals protect themselves from this threat by exercising precaution adding fraud alerts to your credit reports if you become a victim shred all financial documents to include pre-approved credit cards, income taxes, credit card information, etc. review your monthly statements to ensure that there is not unauthorized use

To exercise precaution, you may want to consider not

utilizing your pet’s name, children’s name, birthday, or any part of social security number as part of your passwords do not write your passwords down anywhere make your passwords as long as possible avoid repeating characters, letters, or numbers in your passwords

If you unforunately become a victim of identity theft, take action immediately by:

freezing all credit cards and adding a fraud alert to all accounts check your accounts and credit reports to ensure that no new accounts have been opened in your name file a police report get a copy of your credit report from all three bureaus so that you can see what has been affected on your credit by the identity theft. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from all three bureaus on an annually basis.

In an effort to clear up your identity, you will need to send to each your creditors a copy of your social security card, birth certificate, and utility billl, but do so only by certified mail. Certified mail gives you the added protection of signature receipt of your letter to the creditor. Doing this step proves to the creditor who you are, and it also gives the creditor examples of your signature.

There are addition precaution that you can take. AAA offers use of a temporary credit card number when shopping online using your AAA visa account. Check with your credit card company to see if they offer a similar program.

Identity theft will replace terror threats if we do not take ownership of our own security by employing these and other safeguards to protect our identity and/or privacy.