GPS Safety Tips
Mobile devices use GPS for location-based services and automatically adding geolocation information to pictures taken with the onboard cameras – a practice known as "geotagging." Most people do not realize that the geotagging of photos is set as a default action on their mobile devices and that they are unknowingly sharing a great deal of information about their exact location by simply snapping photos and posting them online.
Identity Theft Consumer Tips
Any combination of basic personal details (name, address, birthdate, Social Security number, etc.) is all it takes for an identity thief to misuse your identity. Learn more about the basics of safeguarding your information.
Identity Theft Protection Services
There are many businesses, insurance companies and financial institutions that now offer credit report monitoring services, identity theft protection and identity theft insurance. Before you pay for a service, do your research to determine if it is something you really need and if it is worth the cost.
Identity Theft Safeguards
There are a number of ways to protect your personal information, including knowing who you share your information with, storing and disposing of your personal information securely, asking questions before deciding to share your personal information, and maintaining appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices.
Medical Identity Theft
Medical identity theft occurs when someone uses another person's personal information (name, birth date, insurance information, etc.) to obtain medical goods or services or uses the victim's information to make fraudulent claims for medical goods or services. Because medical identity theft can result in serious harm, all consumers need to be aware of what it is and how to protect themselves.
Phishing, Vishing, Smishing...
The term “Phishing,” was intentionally coined as a play on “fishing.” Fishing is exactly what the scam artists are doing – throwing you deceptive bait to see if you will bite and give up your personal information. Once they have that, scammers can make unauthorized charges to your bank account or credit card, or even open fraudulent accounts in your name.
Privacy notices explain what personal financial information a company collects; whether the company intends to share your personal financial information with other companies; what you can do to limit some of that sharing; and how the company protects your personal financial information. The bottom line is that it is important to read these privacy notices.
Text Spam - "Smishing"
With the growing popularity of texting, phishers are using it as another means to gather consumers' personal information. This is known as “smishing.” Text spam is particularly problematic as consumers often have to pay for the incoming messages, messages may have to be opened in order to be deleted, and texting back “stop” can invite more spam.
Vacation Protection Tips
Vacation should be a time of rest and relaxation, but it is also a prime opportunity for identity thieves who might take advantage of changed routines and more informal settings. It is important to remember that when you travel, your risk of exposure to fraud and identity theft may increase. It is a fact that people tend to let their guard down while on vacation. Criminals know this.
What's in Your Wallet?
Many wallets contain enough personal information for an identity thief to steal your identity without a great deal of difficulty. Follow some simple tips to minimize the risk of identity theft.
What to Do If It Happens to You
There are a number of useful steps that identity theft victims can take to help clear their records and reclaim their identities.
Your Social Security Number
Social security numbers were originally created for the purpose of tracking earnings and paying benefits. They were never meant to be used by businesses as an identifier, but have taken on that role because everyone has one. And, of course, thieves also want your social security number in order to set up fraudulent accounts in your name.