by Vickie S. Watson, Public Relations Specialist
Hospice of Marshall County’s Planned Giving Council hosted a lunch and learn today on the topic of how to protect yourself from identity theft. The information provided would be useful to anyone and everyone – as this is a growing crime which can cost you a great deal of time and money.
Mike Trinitapoli, with Prudential, and Captain Amos, with the Albertville Police Department, presented valuable information and statistics regarding identity theft:
- There are over 3 billion people on the worldwide web providing a virtual smorgasbord of opportunities for identity theft.
- The average loss per incident is $4,930.
- 42% of Americans have experienced some type of payment card fraud in the last 5 years.
Common Scenarios include:
- Dumpster diving – thieves look for bills or other papers containing your personal information.
- Skimming – thieves steal credit and debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
- Phishing – thieves pretend to be businesses and send spam or pop-up messages asking you to reveal personal information.
- Changing your address – thieves divert your billing statements to another location by completing a “change of address” form.
- Traditional theft – thieves steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; preapproved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers or bribe employees who have access.
Captain Amos stated identity theft is the fastest growing crime, the hardest to solve, and the most difficult to prosecute. For tips on how to protect yourself from this costly crime, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.