April 9, 2007

Common methods of identity theft:
Dumpster diving. Collecting bills and personal information sources from trash bins.

Skimming. Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.

Phishing. Pretending to be financial institutions or companies and sending spam or pop-up messages to solicit personal information.

Changing your address. Diverting billing statements to another location by completing a “change of address” form.

“Old-fashioned” stealing. Theft of wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. Stealing personnel records from employers, or bribing employees who have access.

Deter identity thieves:

  • Shred financial documents and personal information before discarding them.
  • Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your SSN on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
  • Don’t give out personal information over the phone, mail or Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
  • Never click on links sent in unsolicited e-mails; instead, type in a Web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your computer. Visit for information.
  • Don’t use an obvious password like your birthdate, mother’s maiden name, or last four digits of your SSN.
  • Keep information in a secure place, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help or are having work done in your house.
  • Detect suspicious activity by monitoring financial accounts and billing statements.

Signs requiring immediate attention:

  • Bills that do not arrive as expected.
  • Unexpected credit cards or account statements.
  • Denials of credit for no apparent reason.
  • Calls or letters about purchases you did not make.

Inspect your financial information.
The law requires consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — to give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it. Visit www.Annual or call 877-322-8228 to order your free credit reports each year.

For more information, visit idtheft.

From This Issue

Insurance Journal West April 9, 2007
April 9, 2007
Insurance Journal West Magazine

Top 100 Retail Agencies; Energy/Oil & Gas; Cyber Risk/Identity Theft

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