An Identity Theft Update
- Average number of U.S. identity fraud victims annually: 12,157,400
- Percent of U.S. households that reported some type of identity fraud: 7.5 %
- Average financial loss per identity theft incident: $5,130
- Sign up for the federal Do Not Call List: As mentioned in a previous post on telemarketing fraud, the Do Not Call List remains as effective as ever. The web address is still donotcall.gov. One important note to remember is that the list does not apply to charities. This means that legitimate charities will be difficult to distinguish from fraudulent ones. So, your best bet is to play it safe and avoid giving personal or credit card information, or simply avoid such calls all together.
- Opt out of pre-approved credit card offers: They show up daily and you barely pay any attention to them. Identity thieves can steal these right out of your mailbox and then apply for credit in your name. You can opt out of these offers by going to optoutprescreen.com.
- Check your credit report: Head over to annualcreditreport.com to get free credit reports. Then, check your credit report at each of the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Federal law gives you the right to get one from each for free. If you stagger your request, you can get one every four months. This maximizes your chances for spotting fraudulent charges. The sooner you do, the easier it is to fix.
- Get an EMV chip credit card: Have you been asked about “the chip” yet? If you have stopped at your local 7-11 recently, you probably have. Major retailers such as Target and Home Depot began reporting widespread identity theft due to poor security in their Point-Of-Sale (POS) terminals. Since then, multiple banks and card issuers such as American Express Bank of America, Citibank and Wells Fargo have announced cards with EMV chip-and-signature technology. Instead of a magnetic stripe and signature, the security of your identity now relies on a PIN and something called “cryptographic algorithms.”
Please be advised that this blog is for informational purposes only, is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
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