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Assemblyman Gabryszak: Useful tips to fight identity theft | Crime

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Assemblyman Gabryszak: Useful tips to fight identity theft
Assemblyman Gabryszak: Useful tips to fight identity theft

Identity theft has quickly emerged as one of the most prevalent financial crimes in the U.S. and according to the Office of the Attorney General, it affects almost half a million new victims each year.  What’s worse is that it can be done in seconds. It’s a silent crime that can go unnoticed for days, weeks or even months, but it can leave its victims fiscally damaged for years. In recent years, the Assembly approved a law that enhanced privacy protection and provided assistance to identity theft victims (Ch. 279 of 2008). But this measure cannot stand alone.

More specifically, identity theft is a crime in which personal information is stolen for the purpose of criminal use. Social Security Numbers, maiden names, bank accounts and credit card numbers and their PIN numbers are some of the most common pieces of information that are stolen. Unfortunately, as quickly as technology advances, so do the hackers and programs that steal personal information. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the risks, know how to protect your privacy and know what to do if you do fall victim to identity theft.

When personal information is taken, it can be very damaging to the victim’s credit score and can quickly become a huge headache. There are ways you can protect yourself from potential identity thieves. Here are a few tips to help protect your hard-earned cash:

  • never provide any personal, bank account, or credit card information to anyone who contacts you through a telephone call or Internet solicitation;
  • be careful when and who you disclose your personal identifiable information to;
  • tear or shred all paperwork that includes any personal information. Things like ATM and bank receipts, checks, expired credit cards, banking statements and even pre-approved credit card solicitations;
  • be sure when entering personal information online that the website is secure. This goes for online shopping, paying bills online or online banking; and
  • be cautious. Check your monthly statements for anything out of the ordinary and be sure to contact your bank right away if you see anything suspicious.

As a member of the Assembly’s Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protections, I will continue push for security measures that are as up to date and advanced as those who threaten our identity are. If you would like to find out more about identity theft and what to do if you become a victim, contact the Attorney General’s consumer tip line at 800-771-7755. You may also obtain an Identity Theft Victim Kit, which provides victims with specific instructions for filing a police report and beginning to clear their names, by visiting www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/tools.html.





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