Protecting yourself from identity theft

Identity theft can affect anyone, so it is important to know how to prevent it.

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Identity theft can affect anyone, so it is important to know how to prevent it.

Shalene White, Staff Writer

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The staff of the First United Bank of Durant held a seminar on November 14 in the Magnolia Ballroom. It covered the warning attendees of the signs of identity theft and how to prevent it.

Most people think of identity theft as one, overall crime. However, there are several different types of identity theft.

  • Social security theft –The criminal steals the victim’s social security number to commit various crimes.
  • Driver’s license fraud – Criminals obtain the victim’s license and commit traffic violations to which the victim suffers repercussions.
  • Criminal identity theft – The criminal uses the victim’s information to commit a crime and the victim is left having to prove it was not them.
  • Financial identity theft –The victim’s information is stolen to make illegal purchases and/or obtain credit cards in their name.
  • Change of address fraud – The criminal obtains the credit card information of the victim(s) and changes the address on the statement. This makes it harder for the victim to notice new charges on their credit card(s).
  • Medical identity fraud – The victim’s information is used to receive medical care, leaving the victim responsible for the bill.

The seminar taught different ways to prevent identity theft. Many are so seemingly simple that people tend to forget to do them. For example, locking doors, not sharing personal information over the phone or Internet and reviewing credit card statements regularly.

Other preventative tips include:

  • Limit what is in the wallet – do not carry social security card on person.
  • Do not leave mail in an unlocked mailbox.
  • Be sure to shred any receipts or bills that has identifying information.

Jennifer Hinneger, the representative for First United Bank, told the students that being proactive is the best way to keep your identity safe. “Be sure to lock your car doors, and don’t leave any identifying papers out in the open,” Hinneger also said it is best not to keep your social security card and identification card in the same place, makes it harder for the thief to have all the victim’s information.