ID Theft Growing and Evolving, How to Protect Yourself

  
     
October 19, 2011

Image credit: Salvatore Vuono

Denver, CO – October 19, 2011  Over eight million people became victims of identity theft in 2010 according to Javelin Strategy and Research. ID theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S. and consumers need to be cautious as ever. As October 15-22 is National Protect Your Identity Week, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers on what to look out for and how to protect themselves.

“Identity theft has evolved so much over the last few years,” said Hope Marie Sneed, vice president of development and PR for the BBB Serving Denver/Boulder. “The types of ID theft and the methods used seem to be growing and changing all the time.”

Child identity theft is one of the newer, faster growing types of the crime. Criminals using a child’s social security number and a child’s clean credit report have become more prevalent recently. To protect your child’s identity, it is important to monitor their credit report as soon and as often as possible. Trans Union Credit Bureau offers credit reports on minors. If you are a parent, check your child’s credit report at least once a year and report anything suspicious.

The BBB advises consumers to take the following advice to prevent identity theft:

  • Do not give any information to someone who unexpectedly calls you posing as a business. Hang up and call the company directly using the phone numbers on your bill or other source.
  • Protect your social security number. Do not have it printed on your driver’s license, checks or anything that you may lose and someone could find. Do not carry your social security card in your wallet.
  • Always shred obsolete documents that contain account numbers or any other personal information. Identity thieves often look through trash to find such information.
  • Regularly check your credit report, bank and credit card accounts for any suspicious activity. If you see something you do not remember or recognize, contact the institution and discuss it with them. If it is fraud, they’ll be able to help you.
  • Beware of bills in your name for services you did not receive. Investigate something like this – it could be a sign of ID theft.

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About the BBB
The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews and BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM on charities and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 125 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada. Please visit www.denver.bbb.org for more information.