Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


How To Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

How do identity thieves get your name? If you have a credit card, your name is sold to third parties, if you do not want this to happen, you must contact your credit card companies to inform them that you do not want your information sold. Check the privacy notice that comes with your bill. If you enter contests, your information becomes public. Also, when you buy a new product, and fill out the warranty cards, those companies sell that information you provide to other companies. Since when does your toaster manufacturer need to know you households’ annual income to extend a warranty on your toaster? Thieves use dumpster digging, phishing, and pharming to obtain your information. Things they steal from your trash include:

• Pre-approved credit card offers – they complete them and have the card sent to them at a different address
• Loan applications- they complete the application and have the money sent to a phony address.
• Bank statements- they then have your bank account number and can print counterfeit checks

Becky Palmer, a Consumer Credit Counselor, knew of someone who had their wallet stolen, and they used the credit card to buy a $5000.00 gift card at Wal-Mart, the kind of fraud that's particularly hard to trace.

People that are more at risk are senior citizens, people with disabilities and immigrants, but remember that everyone, including children are at risk. Senior citizens are home all day; they might get a phone call from a fake charity asking for money. Immigrants are desperate for credit, they may have just arrived in the US and know they need credit to do anything and are not aware of these scams. People with disabilities are home, and may become a victim of phone or online fraud. There have also been cases of home care providers taking advantage of their clients. Remember, it is not always...