Identity Theft & Phishing

Identity Theft | Phishing

Identity Theft

Thieves and con artists know countless ways to rip people off, so protecting your identity needs to be a high priority.

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, without your knowledge, to obtain credit cards, phone service and other types of loans. In other words, the thief uses your good credit to go on a spending spree.

To avoid being a victim, consumers need to pay extra attention as they go about their daily routine. Here are tips to protect yourself against the fastest growing crime in America.

Warning signs: You get bills, credit card statements, calls from businesses or collection agencies, or other notices for debts and purchases you know nothing about.

Consumer's Best Defense:

College Students Risking Their and Parents’ Identity

The 18-29 year old age bracket continues to account for almost 30 percent of all identity theft complaints, yet a recent survey of college students shows that most are indifferent when it comes to protecting their personal security. And, as a child goes off to college, many parents aren’t thinking about identity theft as a risk for their child’s information, much less their own.

Why would a parent’s information be at risk? This comes into play because routinely, it is a parent’s name, bank account numbers and other personal information that is used to co-sign apartment leases, write tuition and housing checks, and maybe even to register online to receive grades. The paper documents that contain this information often barely make it into a desk drawer in a college student’s room, much less into a securely locked place. The information is just too readily available for anyone to take.

Unfortunately, college students more typically think about protecting their personal belongings, like a laptop or mp3 player, than their personal information. Parents can help prevent their college student from becoming a target for identity theft with the following steps:

College students must also take responsibility in protecting their own information. They can minimize the risk of identity theft with the following guidelines:

The college years can be a fun and challenging time for both parents and students. Don’t let identity theft make this time simply challenging.

Phishing

Phishing (FISH-ing) is a new twist on an old telemarketing scan; however, instead of the phone, scan artists use the computer email system.

Phishing refers to how thieves steal victims' personal financial information. They're phishing for information. Phishing con artists pretend to represent a trusted source, like a bank, and then scare the consumer with threats if they don't act quickly.

These scammers steal credit card, bank account and Social Security numbers. They also seek passwords and any sensitive financial information.

Phishing scams are constantly evolving and we offer the following tips so you don't become a victim:

Consumer Tips:

For more information on phishing or identity theft to go www.antiphishing.org or www.consumer.gov/idtheft. Each year, phishing con artists convince 5 percent of the public to fall for their scams. Make sure it's not you.