Our identities can easily be stolen by identity thieves if we are not careful. If you think you are not susceptible to identity theft, you might want to think about when the last time was when you shared personal information. According to the FTC, “9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year” and can result numerous problems for victims ranging from denied loans for housing or cars, and job opportunities.
With National Protect Your Identity Week scheduled from October 20th-27th, we are often reminded to shred those preapproved credit card offers, receipts, statements and other documents that contain our personal information at community shred events . But what happens to the personal information that we share with others?
We don’t think too much about a receipt that we sign when we make a purchase or the paperwork that we had to fill out as a new employee. But as soon as we hand over this sensitive information to businesses, we trust that they will safeguard our privacy as much as we do, by destroying it when it is no longer needed. It is ultimately our responsibility to prevent identity theft so take time to ask how the company disposes the sensitive data that they collect or their safeguarding procedures. If the company cannot give you an answer directly, they might not be securing your privacy and your identity may be stolen without you even knowing it.
To view FTC’s steps on how to respond and recover from identity theft, visit http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/consumers/defend.html.