Identity theft can have massive negative effects on millions of people nationwide every year, but today, even many victims who are no longer living may be susceptible to being ripped off by criminals. These days, there are a number of websites frequented by criminals that contain a wealth of personal information on the recently deceased. Criminals then can in turn exploit the… Read More
Identity theft is a very real problem affecting millions of Americans every year, but in a shocking number of cases, it seems that these crimes might be the work of organized fraud rings. Today, there are more than 10,000 organized identity theft groups operating in the U.S. alone, according to new data from the security… Read More
Over the past several months I have read a number of stories with screaming headlines touting the fact that a number of financial services institutions were “joining in the fight” against identity theft by scheduling “shredding days” for their customers. They were arranging for companies that specialize in shredding large quantities of documents to come to their parking lots and accept cartons of theoretically outdated (yet personally sensitive) documents from their customers in order to shred them on the spot.
A report by the Government Accountability Office has highlighted data security issues at the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS manages Medicare and Medicaid records:
The report, performed at the request of the Senate Finance Committee, said the computer networks at the agency are vulnerable because of inadequate password protections, auditing and monitoring, and physical security, among other reasons.
About 43 million people over the age of 65 participate in Medicare. About 40 million people are enrolled in Medicaid. A security breach at the Department of Health and Human Services would expose a massive number of people to identity theft crimes.
And the identity theft adventures don’t end with the Hardy Boys. The Teen Titans have also started fighting identity theft on the comic book pages! It probably won’t be long before Batman, Spider-Man and The Hulk start taking on these criminals, too!
Following in the great tradition of comic book villains such as the Joker, Magneto and Lex Luthor, what should we call this up and coming identity thief character? Phineas Phisher? Mister Skimmer? Share your ideas for identity theft villains in the comments section below!
Opt-out of preapproved offers – Remove your name from the credit bureau marketing lists for preapproved credit card and loan offers. Either call 1-800-5-OPT-OUT or go online to www.optoutprescreen.com to complete this simple request. You will be amazed at how this simple step can reduce your mail volumes each day.
Request online statements – Many banks, creditors, lenders and investment companies now allow you to request that all your statements are delivered by email instead of by mail. Not only does this cut down on mailbox clutter, it also helps you prevent identity theft.
Drop off outgoing mail in a secure location – Putting outgoing mail in an unlocked mailbox and marking it with a red flag is practically asking for identity theft. Instead, place outgoing mail in a blue postal collection box or take it directly to the post office.
A report today by the Charlotte Observer highlights the identity theft risk embedded in court documents. In South Carolina, court records often contain Social Security numbers that cannot be removed and are available to the public. This announcement comes more than a month after a North Carolina law took effect that was intended to keep this sensitive consumer information private.