by Fred Hilsenrath / Rotarian
Our Wednesday talks are always interesting. Sometimes we learn new facts about science, other times we get information regarding the social or political world we live in. This time we got information regarding our personal privacy in our commercial world. Commerce supposedly makes products available to the public and gives inventors and producers the opportunity to earn their living; a wonderful win-win situation. Unfortunately there are individuals who find the loopholes to penetrate our private lives, access our bank accounts, poison our computers with viruses and make it costly and inconvenient to be dealt with. Doris Finley, from Jonesboro AR, has vast knowledge about how to prevent most of these intrusions from doing us damage. Doris is a consultant on this subject. Here is what Doris said:
“Identity Theft is the fastest growing white-collar crime in the US. Many feel they are immune from being a victim, but the truth is—we are all vulnerable to the Identity Thief.
There are numerous forms of Identity Theft—driver’s license, social security, medical, criminal/character, financial and now synthetic. In the US, there are approximately 12 million people victimized by IDT each year, with our children being 35% more likely to be victimized than an adult. If you become a victim, it can take an average of 300 hours to repair the damages. 30% of victims will spend 4-6 months in their particular case.
Nearly $250 billion is lost by businesses each year due to Identity Theft. Following the trauma of being victimized, many suffer the additional trouble getting loans or credit cards, higher interest rates, legal issues such as liens, garnishments and negative info on their credit reports. Being cautious with your information is the best protection. Many do not realize how often other people may see a Driver’s License number, checking account info, etc. or that they may put too much personal information on the internet and social media.
An Identity Theft Plan is the best protection. While no plan can stop it, it can usually catch the compromise of your identity before the damage can occur. A plan with legal coverage is the best. This is promoted even by some of your Federal agencies. If your identity is compromised, you will be very likely to have legal issues to accompany it.
I encourage you to check your credit report annually. You can receive a free copy each year at www.annualcreditreport.com.”