Tips to avoid identity theft scams

By: TERESA SALIZZONI, Logan Daily News, Associated Press

LOGAN, Ohio (AP) — With today’s high tech world, residents are encouraged to take precautions to safeguard their identity and avoid becoming a victim of identity theft-scams. Local cases are on the rise and authorities offer helpful tips to avoid falling victim.

Lanny North, Hocking County Sheriff, said there are many different safeguards residents can take to protect themselves from ID theft. He suggests in the electronic world to ensure there is effective and updated antivirus-anti spyware software on equipment.

When shopping online, North encourages residents to make sure the information is being transmitted on a secure site. “Look for a closed lock on the status bar and web address that starts with https,” added North.

“On the back of credit cards, write ‘check ID’ or ‘CID’ so the cashier has to verify your identity,” said North.

“As in scam scenarios, only share personal information with reputable sources. Be suspicious of any organization or person that initiates unsolicited contact with you,” he added.

“If you receive an unsolicited call or email from an individual portraying themselves as selling something or a service, you should always be suspicious of their reputability until proven otherwise. If you receive a call, the safest thing to do is disconnect and call the company back at a verified number,” said North.

North believes his office has seen an increase in identify theft cases since 2013.

The Logan Police Department reported 18 cases of identity theft in 2013, and in 2014 they have handled 15 cases.

A report called “Identity Theft: Who’s at Risk? was released from the AARP. It showed Americans continue to ignore time-tested consumer protection tips that are known to help protect personal information from identity thieves. For example, only six-in-ten, 59 percent of Americans regularly lock their mailboxes.

More than one-in-five, 21 percent of Americans say they never shred any of the personal documents that could be used to steal their identity. And over half, 54 percent of Americans ages 18 to 49 have left at least one valuable personal item in their car like a purse or wallet, paystub, laptop and these items could be used to steal their identity.

The more troubling findings of AARP’s survey show Americans are even less prepared for new high-tech attacks according to release they issued. For instance, the report shows over one-in-three, 35 percent of Americans have not set up online access to all of their bank and credit card accounts, with this number climbing to 42 percent for those age 50 or older. More than four in ten, 45 percent of Americans admit to using the same password on two or more of their accounts. Almost half, 49 percent of Americans have not changed the password on their online bank account in the past six months.

Additionally North said, “If you are victim of identity theft, file a report with your local law enforcement agency.”


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