Anytime you lose your purse or wallet it opens the door for identity thieves to all the necessary information about you that they need to take advantage of your credit rating. From here they can easily sell off your personal information to other thieves online or start creating fraudulent accounts in your name and taking the property purchased on your credit and disappearing. This happens every day.
1. Phone your bank and credit card companies to let them know immediately.
Ask to have your account numbers changed as a security precaution.
2. File a Police report
3. Put a fraud alert on your account with all 3 of the credit agencies.
4. Contact your lenders fraud department
5. Get a copy of your credit report ASAP
6. Don’t forget to report your driver’s license lost and replace it at the DMV.
7. If you lost any keys you should change the locks that they match quickly.
8. Make an inventory list of what exactly you recall being inside the wallet/purse.
9. Signup with an ID Theft Protection Service
Tips to help protect you and limit your liability
Terry Rogan was arrested 5 times for allegedly killing someone and robbery. He did not commit these crimes. McKandes, a man that broke out of Alabama State Prison, did. This started in 1982. McKandes had a copy of Rogan’s birth certificate and used that to obtain a driver’s license and other documents in Rogan’s name.
McKandes was still using Rogan’s identity when he robbed and murdered that same year. Because of the identity mistake, police did not know that when they put an arrest warrant out to Rogan, they wouldn’t be finding McKandes. Having an arrest warrant out for your name places you into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). This alerts all of the police departments in the United States of the outstanding warrants.
Later, Rogan was arrested in Michigan for the crimes committed by McKandes in California. Officers later found that Rogan’s fingerprints and DNA and just his basic physical features did not match the evidence entered in NCIC. Rogan was released and his name was then cleared of the criminal act.
Rogan’s issues did not subside then, though. Rogan was arrested 4 additional times between 193-1984 for crimes that he did not commit. After authorities discovered that it was not him, he was released and the problem was eventually resolved thoroughly.
It became clear that Terry Rogan was a victim of identity theft. One person used someone else’s birth certificate to completely overhaul their identity and make it their own.
Identity theft is a crime worth being afraid of. It is also worth protecting yourself against. Nobody wants to think of someone else portraying themselves as you. Important documents about you can be obtained in many forms such as mail, Internet, credit statements and more.
A Federal Trade Commission study concluded in 1995 that 93% of arrests made in the Financial Crimes Division of the United States Secret Service have identity theft involved and caused individual and institutional losses of $442 million.
In 1994 the numbers increased to 94% of the cases and the losses of upwards to $450 million in 1996. The percentage of cases was still around 94% in 1997 but the losses continued to rise as they reached almost $745 million.
Identity theft has said to be the hottest crime committed according to the state and federal prosecutors. They believe it will become wildly more popular due to the advancement of technology. Identity theft is a major cause of financial losses for business and social security industries.
The Identity Theft & Assumption Deterrence Act was later passed by the United States Congress to control the damage caused by identity theft crimes. President William Jefferson Clinton later signed the Act when he went into law on October 30, 1998.
The Act makes identity theft a legal crime stating it is to “knowingly transfer or use, without legal authority; a means of using the identification of another individual with the intention of committing or aiding any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal State Law.”
The first major change made by this Act is that it classifies the theft or use of a person’s information wrongfully a federal crime that can be tried. Before the Act was passed, federal law only classifies the deceptive creation and the use or transfer of identification documents and NOT the actual theft or wrongful use of an individual’s personal information.
Because the criminal use of the victim’s identity causes the majority of their problems, the Act clearly defines it as a federal crime. The Act is very much accepted by the people, especially in such an age where identification documents can be obtained over the Internet.
The second major change is the definition of punishment for the thief. Below is the important information stated under this provision.
The Act also covers aid to the individual victims of identity theft. The Act developed a centralize complaint and consumer education service for the victims and supervised development and maintenance of the service to the Federal Trade Commission.
Identity theft complaints are entered into the Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse. This is a database designed to aid law enforcement agencies in disputing identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission is also asked to aid identity theft victims in resolving credit issues that arise from the illegal use of their credit funds by thieves.
By the passing of the Identity Theft & Assumption Act, we are all now provided with additional protection to avoid identity theft. If you wish, you may choose to get a lawyer to explain other provisions of this Act to you further. Help yourself with identity theft protection software like PC Cop.
There is not a whole lot of things worse than opening your credit card bill to find that the charge is significantly higher than you know it should be. It’s bad enough that there are charges on the bill that you didn’t make, but now you also have to deal with the bad credit rating that goes along with all of those racked up charges.
There are other consequences that the actual card holder also faces after credit theft. Credit accounts can also be transferred to fraudulent people or businesses and the savings data will drip out permanently. Often times, valuable information such as a credit card number and password are taken. Clients can be secretly changed by the perpetrator. The criminal can also access and use your social security number for various malicious acts.
Identity theft is unfortunately a rapid growing offense around the world. In 2004 a study was conducted revealing how serious the situation of identity theft is in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission recently found out that nearly 9.1 million individuals are victims of identity theft crimes in the United States alone.
You can prevent identity theft from happening to you.
To prevent this kind of crime there are some important ideas and safety tips about identity theft below:
1. Do NOT forget the receipt or pay slip at the gas pump or ATM station. These print out after your transaction is complete but they often contain valuable information for thieves.
2. Be observant and mindful when dealing with details. Make sure to secure and organize files for bank account receipts and bills. Things of this nature should always be shredded before throwing out. Well trained identity thieves can gather your personal and financial information off of just a few bits and pieces of data on papers.
3. The FBI is running a current investigation and found that 30% of ID theft victims claimed the thief was a co-worker or a friend. This shows that you should be cautious of those around you. Don’t leave bank documents or personal information data out for anyone to see. Most suspects know the routines and lifestyles of their victims making them easier targets.
4. Use credit banking and bureaus to get a copy of your credit report and statements on a regular basis.
5. Opt out of the mailing list or insure it is secure. To make sure a bank mailing list is safe you can call the bank registry office to give you an idea of which mailing lists are safe from ID theft.
6. Never write your social security number on a check. If the check gets into the wrong hands you want the thief to have as little information on you as possible. Also, do NOT carry your social security card in your wallet. It should be kept secured for privacy.
7. Do NOT have your banking information such as bank account number printed on anything (ex. Driver’s license).
8. Delete spam emails. Often spam emails will opt you to enter your credit card or bank account information to access something off the Internet. These include credit card offers and fraudulent websites. This is usually a scam for the thief to obtain vital information from you. You should stop all credit card offers from the Internet and email. Having a spam detector on your email helps some with this. If you have a firewall or anti-spyware software this helps also. These softwares can protect your computer password from hackers and secure personal data sheets as well.
9. Get your initials of your name printed on your new batch of checks rather than your full name. And get the checks from a designated bank purchaser office directly.
10. Your bank account password should be private. Do NOT carry your pin number in your wallet or write it on your debit card.
11. Do NOT give any personal or financial information over the phone.
To protect your personal information on your computer download PC Cop. PC Cop will help protect you from identity theft online.
If you or someone you know feels that you may be a current victim of identity theft it is appropriate to contact your nearest Justice Department. A bank office may also be able to help you determine if there is a crime involved and how to fix it through your bank. Taking extra care to protect yourself from identity theft is the best thing you can do. In this situation, it is much easier to prevent identity theft than to repair the damage it causes.