Skilled Thieves Want Your Identity. Are You Safe?

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How can you protect yourself against one of the fastest growing crimes in America?

KAYSVILLE, Utah (PRWEB) August 1, 2005 – Chances are that you know somebody who has had their identity stolen, and you may even be a victim yourself. Mail, receipts, credit cards and other forms of personal information are just a few of the items that could be stolen. Criminals can take personal information from a credit card statement, receipt, bank printout and other sources to open a bank account in your name, apply for credit cards, create forged checks, file for bankruptcy and more.

ABC Office recommends that you prepare for and recognize certain risk areas where your information may not be secure. There are a few everyday things you can do to thwart these thieves and make yourself less of a target.

Mail is an easy target. If you have an unsecured mailbox, you may want to consider using a secure post office box. If you have an unlocked mailbox outside your house, you can contact the U.S. Postal Service and request a vacation hold. It is also a good idea to pick new checks up from the bank than have them delivered to a mailbox.

It is recommended that you not carry your Social Security card in your purse or wallet. If lost or stolen, this card makes it easy to steal your identity. A wallet or purse can also carry other personal information. Only carry what you need. If you keep credit cards in your wallet or purse, only take what you will need for the day. Be sure to keep your wallet or purse in a safe location and try not to keep sensitive information inside.

Be careful who you give your personal information to. You may be faced with a situation where you are required to give information over the phone, through mail or over the Internet. This information can include your Social Security Number (SSN), birth date, account numbers, mother’s maiden name and more. Only deal with organizations you consider legitimate. You will only want to give this information if you have initiated contact. Thieves have been known to pose as bank representatives, medical officials, government agencies, credit card companies and more.

Shredding documents is one of the most important ways you can prevent identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission states, “To thwart a thief who may pick through your trash or recycling bins to capture your personal information, tear or shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired credit or charge cards that you’re discarding, and credit offers you get in the mail.”

If you feel you have become a victim of identity theft, you can contact the FTC for information on what to do. You can find a step-by-step guide on what to do by going here: http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/. They also have some great ideas on protecting yourself against computer ID theft as well. You can also read ABC Office’s fraud prevention guide by going here: http://www.abcoffice.com/fraud.htm.

For information about a paper shredder that may work for you, call toll-free (1-800-658-8788) Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. MST. A knowledgeable customer service representative can then assist with answering questions regarding shredders.

For further information, please contact David Stuart, Marketing Supervisor of ABC Office, 1-800-658-8788.

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David Stuart