I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed for a story on WNWO – TV (Channel 24) about cell phones and identity theft. I must admit that it was a topic that I had not really spent too much time thinking about. Yes, I have counselled clients about identity theft committed by thiefs using more traditional means. However, in preparing for the interview, I had the opportunity to review many news articles about this growing epidemic.
The story, which can be found online , related that over 12 million Americans were the victims of identity theft during calendar year 2011. That number is an increase of 13% over the number of victims in 2010.
The scammers use techniques referred to as “Smishing“. They attempt to take advantage of you when you are distracted or in a hurry. They utilize the names of well known major retailers, banks or the government in order to get you to divulge sensitive information. Therefore, it is important to always be protective of your social security number, your bank and credit card account numbers, and driver’s license information when using your smartphone. Also be careful of the Apps that you download, utilize cell phone passwords and guard against theft of the phone itself.
1) Place a Fraud Alert on your Credit Report;
2) Review your Credit Report;
3) Contact the affected creditors in writing and close affected accounts;
4) Report the identity theft to the Local Police Department;
6) Contact your Wireless Company.
Each of these steps will enable you to protect yourself and will help law enforcement to help to track down the perpetrators of identity theft crimes.
Michael P. Dansack