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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
51-year-old Lana Murphy and 39-year-old Bennie Coplin were arrested Friday and charged with felony identity theft 51-year-old Lana Murphy and 39-year-old Bennie Coplin were arrested Friday and charged ...
Published: Fri, 15 Feb 2019 15:47:00 GMT
Identity theft is a growing problem across the United States and in Minnesota - a crime that is difficult to detect and hard to rectify. But even as consumers become more alert and protected against t...
Published: Tue, 12 Feb 2019 17:47:00 GMT
LAS VEGAS (KSNV/CNN) - North Las Vegas police say attempted identity theft prompted them to reopen a cold case more than 30 years later involving the disappearance of 3-year-old Francillion Pierre. "I...
Published: Tue, 12 Feb 2019 11:26:00 GMT
SPRINGFIELD - Thirty-one state attorneys general, including Illinois' Kwame Raoul, are advocating for tougher safeguards against identity theft in the Federal Trade Commission's rulebook. "We must kee...
Published: Thu, 14 Feb 2019 23:25:00 GMT
A man and a woman accused of trying to use forged credit cards to rack up more than $1,600 in charges at a Costa Mesa hotel pleaded not guilty to felony and misdemeanor charges Friday. Aaron Michael G...
Published: Mon, 11 Feb 2019 19:35:00 GMT
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