Identity Theft Awareness 101 - Basics


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Helpful information about what identity theft is, how to help prevent it and protect yourself from it. Designed for readers with limited knowledge. Easy to understand and share with audiences starting at age 13.

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Identity Theft Awareness 101 - Basics

  1. 1. Identity Theft Awareness Workshop By Deb Vosejpka Lesson 1: Identity Theft Basics
  2. 2. What is Identity Theft? Identity theft is a form of stealing someone's identity in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, usually as a method to gain access to resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name. The victim of identity theft (here meaning the person whose identity has been assumed by the identity thief) can suffer adverse consequences if they are held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Identity theft occurs when someone uses another's personally identifying information, like their name, identifying number, or credit card number, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
  3. 3. Is Identity Theft Preventable? Not entirely. There are some precautions we can take to help minimize the risk (which we’ll discuss in other presentations), but there are many circumstances that are not within our control. Identity theft can be a result of a random act or targeted event.
  4. 4. How thieves get your information Thieves strive to get your information through personal, commercial, and government means. Let’s start with commercial and government. To get a better sense of how thieves acquire your information via data breaches, visit . Download the pdf or spreadsheet to view the data breaches since 2005. There you’ll find specific events for each data breach. Your exposed information can be the result of a hacker, unintended disclosure, insider theft, stolen equipment , improper disposal of documents and a plethora of other electronic methods.
  5. 5. How your data is stolen through personal means The top 10 scams over the past decade: Phishing Pretexting Fake Job Offers Skimming Dumpster Diving Pickpocketing Purse Snatching Malware and Spyware Fake Tax Filing Change of Address
  6. 6. How your personal information is being used • Commit crimes in your name • Acquire medical care • File tax refunds • Apply for social security benefits • Open bank and credit card accounts • Secure mortgage or car loans • Start businesses or professional contracts • Obtain employment
  7. 7. What you may expect when you become a victim of identity theft! • Denied employment • Denied security clearance • Denied loans or bank accounts • Denied health care, medicines • Denied professional licenses or small business opportunities • Increased insurance costs • Increased risk for: -Harassment from debt collectors -Arrest for crimes -Negative credit reporting • Loss of wages for time off work: - Contact Collection Agencies - Contact Employers - Contact Credit Bureaus/Creditors - Contact Attorneys - Contact Investigators - Contact Government Agencies - Contact Local Law Enforcement - Contact Banking Institutions - Contact Retailers and Businesses - Contact Post Office - Contact Education Institutions …each and every time a theft occurs
  8. 8. Prevention Tips • Use strong passwords like iGfcin2009! (I graduated from college in 2009!) and PINS. • Open and respond to notifications of data breaches from banks, vendors, retailers etc. • Safeguard important documents like: social security card, passport, medical card, gun permit, birth certificate, drivers license, student id. • Watch for hidden cameras in brochure holders at ATM’s and skimmers at gas pumps and bank kiosks. • Watch for URL in websites. All legitimate sites have http(s):// (s = secure). • Shred or burn documents before discarding them. • Pick up mail daily. Don’t make it easy for thieves to apply for credit. • Invest in anti-virus software. Be suspicious of malware and phishing. • Be alert. Absence of mail, credit denial, charges on statements. • Don’t do any financial transactions on an open WI-Fi network. • Frequently monitor bank , credit card and investment accounts.
  9. 9. You could be at great risk if… • Suddenly you stop receiving mail. • You get phone calls from collectors regarding debts that are not yours. • Your bank accounts have been compromised. • You’ve been locked out of your online accounts or emails. • Your automatic deposits are missing. • You receive mail for matters not initiated by you. • You are arrested for criminal acts you did not commit.
  10. 10. How to protect yourself and help others! • Stay alert! • Stay informed, write to receive helpful tips, resources, and solutions. • Become an advocate and share your knowledge. • Get protection. Deb Vosejpka
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