A consumer can do everything possible to be personally safe and still become a victim of ID theft. The Bank of New York Mellon announced on August 28, 2008, that backup tapes containing personal information of 12.4 million clients had been lost during a routine transit. Certigy, the largest check guarantee company in the U.S., announced that an IT insider downloaded the information for 2.4 million customers and sold that information. A local bank manager could sell customer information to support a hidden drug problem. There is little protection from these types
of activities; we are vulnerable.
In a discussion about ID theft, consumers must understand that we are dependent upon the good faith effort of businesses to carefully monitor their employees and ‘business as usual’ practices. Most are overly responsive, installing safeguards to protect sensitive client information. Since, however, there are situations beyond our control, every consumer needs to do what they can do to guard and insulate their safety.
- Subscribe to the Colorado ‘No Call’ list: www.coloradonocall.com or 303-776-2678;
- Stop Pre-Approved Credit Card Applications from coming in the mail: www.optoutprescreen.com or 1-888-567-8688;
- Stop ‘Convenience Checks’: Call the ‘800’ number on the back of your credit card. State: “I’d like to OPT OUT of your marketing programs.”;
- Place a ‘Security Freeze’ with the credit reporting agencies (call our office for a flyer outlining how to do so—303-271-6970);
- Order your free credit reports and check them carefully: Go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call the credit reporting agency;
- Reduce the checks you write each month. Use automatic ‘Bill Pay,’ phone bill pay, or contact your local bank for assistance;
- As far as possible, keep your eye on your credit card;
- Remove everything from your purse/wallet containing your Social Security number: Social Security card; Military ID card; Medicare card; and get a new Colorado Driver’s License if it’s on your current license.
Source: District Attorney Scott Storey, Office of Jefferson/Gilpin Counties, Colorado
To report fraud, ask a question, or schedule a ‘Power Against Fraud’ seminar, call: 303-271-6980