Prevent Identity Fraud

FTC Complaints

There were of two million complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about identity theft in 2012. This is a 32 percent increase in one year. Almost one half of these complaints involve government documents or benefits. Florida ranks as the number one state with identity fraud in 2012, with Georgia, Mississippi, Michigan and Louisiana completing the top five.

Check Fraud

One of the reasons Florida is on top of the list is its large elderly population. Many seniors prefer to write checks rather than use credit cards. Using a gel pen for writing checks will help prevent check fraud, as they cannot be altered. Criminals use a process known as check washing.

Acetone is used to erase the ink on a check, or some other type of chemical, such as benzene, bleach, carbon tetrachloride are just a few. These are common ingredients used in various cleaners. They can remove greases, oils, waxes and inks, then when the check is dry a new amount and payee can be written in.

Mail Boxes

Source

Prevent Mail Fraud

The best way to prevent this problem is to not leave outgoing mail in an unlocked box, but if you must, try to leave it shortly before expected the mail pickup. Even when void is written on a check it can still be used to set up an account or to transfer funds.

Credit Cards

New Account Fraud

A big jump on identity theft involves new account fraud. This entails using a victim’s name and as much personal information as the criminal can get to open new charge accounts and get new loans. This form of fraud has increased by 50 percent over the past year.

IRS Forms

IRS Fraud

Another method that has grown is the use of social security numbers, particularly during tax season. This accounts for approximately 25 percent of fraud cases. People are concerned now if they file their return late and it is rejected because someone else has already filed in their name. Thieves hack into a variety of places to get this information. It may be computer systems, paper files at schools, places of business or financial institutions.

There are several clues to question fraud where your IRS return is concerned. If the IRS indicates you have a 1099 from an employer you did not work for, then you have probably experience identity theft. A stolen wallet is always a clue to future problems, even if you've notified all of your credit cards immediately. Never sign a blank IRS return if you pay someone to complete your taxes. Do not complete your tax return at a small restaurant or coffee spot with their Wi-Fi service. If you use a photograph, delete it immediately following its use.

New Fraud Scams for Identity Theft

There have been cases of small businesses scamming credit cards. When you are dining out and ready to pay the bill, quite often you give your credit card to the waiter or waitress. They take the card to the cash register, which you often can’t see. It is important to be alert to each credit card bill for accuracy.

Californians are now facing new fraud threats with the use of card-skimming devices, Bluetooth technology, malicious software or malware and unsecured Wi-Fi. A secured Wi-Fi system is essential for computer security. Use different passwords for different accounts. Never use your social security number. The threats can come from overseas, as well as, in the U.S. Be aware of phishing request and never give out personal information from unsolicited sources. I was recently hacked by several overseas sources, but fortunately I got some help and eliminated the problem before it went too far. I now have anti-hacking software.

Identity Fraud - How to Protect Yourself from Cyber-Criminals

In Summary

It is important to protect your identity. There are several reasonably priced programs you can purchase to ensure your credit remains untouched. Never give our personal information to someone on the phone. Be cautious to protect your identity.

© 2013 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 20 comments

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Excellent hub, Pam. We don’t often use checks anymore; our personal checks do not have the street address imprinted, and have only the first initial of our first names – not our full names. We also use a credit inform profile which we receive quarterly to determine if anyone has used our identities to open up new charge accounts, etc. We rarely use our debit cards to purchase anything. One can’t be too careful these days. You have provided a treasure trove of info on your hub. Well done. Voted up ++.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Valuable information. cannot be overstated. thank you


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

I think the way you have your checks printed is a great idea. I only use a check for a bill that can't be paid any other way. I also have a credit inform profile. Thanks so much for your comments, and I am glad you living carefully.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Martin, I appreciate your comments.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

This is such a huge problem in society today. To think there are thousands out there with nothing better to do than steal from others, that that is their sole purpose in life. I just don't get it.

Valuable info here Pamela...thank you!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Such a shame this has to be written but valuable, practical and helpful information for all of us, Pamela. Voted UP and UAI. Hugs, Maria


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 3 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Hey there, Pamela99. This is so timely for me. I was just today looking up our credit reports. Lo and behold, found someone using my name with a SS number (last four digits) off mine. Unh -- no no!!

Have you had experience with Life Lock or similar site?


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Billy, I wonder about the criminals in jail who are often fairly smart and people who committ identity fraud. Just think of what they could do with their lives if they applied themselves, instead of looking for the easy way out. Thanks for your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Maria, It is sad that this has become such a big problem. Thanks so much for your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

MM, I hate to hear you are having the problem because it means changing absolutely everything depending on how much harm they have done to you at this point. I have not used Life Lock. My bank has a program that watches the credit agencies and is supposed to protect us from hackers. I don't know if there is a true guarantee. I was using a program with my Chase card, and it worked wall as that is the card I use the most. They always emailed be for any puchase over $250. Thanks for your comments, and I hope things work out for your.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

It's a sad state of affairs, Pamela, but identity theft according to everything I read is on the rise. One cannot be too careful. Thanks for taking the time to share this very important information.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

drbj, I have read about in quite often also, which is why I thought this was a good topic for a hub. We really do have to be careful. Thank you for your comments


epbooks profile image

epbooks 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Very good suggestions here. We all need to be aware and this hub is helpful!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Liz, It is a shame this is a growing problem. Thanks for your comments.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 2 years ago from sunny Florida

Thanks, Pamela, for sharing this. It is crucial to protect our identity now more than ever it seems. Great suggestions.

Angels are on the way. ps


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Patricia, it is so important to protect identity and its more difficult now that ever. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and appreciate your comments. Thank you for the Angels house and some back to you.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Prevent Identity Fraud is still going on and one has to take the necessary precautions. Believe it or not people are still getting scammed. A useful hub indeed.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

DDE,I think more people are getting scammed than ever and you are right about taking the necessary precautions. I appreciate your comments.


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 2 years ago from Northam Western Australia

Another great hub. It surprises me how so many people still get caught online in different scams. The crooks are getting more and more inventive in the way they trick people.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Eileen, They really are getting more inventive and there are devices that I did not even include in this hub. It is sad so many older people are victims. So, you are in Australia? Sounds great. Thanks for your comments.

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