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Identity theft is a big moneymaker in the criminal world in America, with nearly $50 billion in losses reported by the Federal Trade Commission each year. In Missouri, more than 3,800 residents became victims in a recent year, at a rate of 64.3 people out of every 100,000 people in the state.
What can Missouri residents do to better protect themselves against identity theft? First, they should secure their electronic devices. Security software - anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewalls - should be a priority. Smartphones, tablets, and computers need to be password-protect to prevent unauthorized access, and all passwords used on those devices or anywhere online should not be easy to guess (e.g. no names of pets or family members, not the word "password", no birth dates or home phone numbers).
Second, they should make sure not to give their social security numbers out unless absolutely necessary; even when deciding to provide that information, the requester should be able to explain why it's needed, and how they protect such data in their business. Another important safeguard is to keep financial documents and records in a safe or other secure location (e.g. safe deposit box), and to shred those documents before disposing of them.
Finally, Missouri residents should watch out for scammers impersonating banks, credit card companies, and even the IRS; there are many well-documented, fraudulent activities whereby criminals try to get customers to disclose account numbers and passwords. It is recommended that credit cardholders and bank account holders call those businesses directly, using trusted contact numbers, rather than respond to any contact not initiated by the customers themselves.
Additionally, there are a number of Identity Theft Protection services available to customers in Missouri, whereby they can have 24-hour monitoring of their credit accounts and other information. These companies also help those who have been victims of identity theft to quickly restore their credit ratings and reputations.
Identity Theft In The News
LifeLock, a leading Identity Theft protection service, receives the highest ranking available from TopConsumerReviews.com. We're pleased to give LifeLock a first-place ranking as our top pick for Iden...
Published: Wed, 19 Sep 2018 10:41:00 GMT
Discussions about ID theft often involve hackers and cyberattacks gaining access to consumer and payment data. But action from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Tuesday (Sept. 18) showed how ...
Published: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 19:17:00 GMT
Staying offline doesn't keep you safe from online threats. That's bad news for many older Americans. According to a 2017 study by the Pew Research Center, 34 percent of senior citizens in the U.S. don ...
Published: Wed, 19 Sep 2018 07:17:00 GMT
Lansing man convicted in international identity theft and tax fraud scheme A Lansing man has been convicted on 18 counts for his role in what officials called an "international identity theft and tax ...
Published: Wed, 19 Sep 2018 16:24:00 GMT
Considered the strongest tool in lessening the risk of identity theft, placing a security freeze on your credit file comes with even fewer caveats beginning Friday. That's when a new federal law ...
Published: Wed, 19 Sep 2018 16:35:00 GMT
I suggested she call the police to report it. What was happening to my friend is a fairly typical set of events that happens in the early stages of identity theft. While this effort was derailed, most ...
Published: Wed, 19 Sep 2018 10:00:00 GMT
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