Get Smart: Protect Yourself, Your Friends and Your Family from ID Theft and Fraud

Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information and uses it pretending to be you, usually to get money but sometimes just to be mean. It can happen in many ways, but now that we have so much personal information on our computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, these devices are tempting targets for ID thieves. They don’t even need to steal your phone or computer – they can get the information it contains without your even realizing it. And if they need more information about you, they may try to trick you into providing it.

What’s the harm? ID thieves could wipe out your bank account, open credit accounts in your name or take over existing accounts and wreck your credit record, or alter your health records by posing as you to get medical services. They could also create trouble for you with the IRS by using your Social Security number and other information to get a job. When you file your tax return, you could find that someone else already has, and got a tax refund.

Even worse, if they get into trouble with the law they could give your ID as theirs. If you’re stopped for a minor problem like a broken taillight and the officer checks the computer, you could be arrested on an outstanding warrant for something you never did.

And your reputation could be damaged if someone gets into your social network account and posts embarrassing photos or malicious comments, making it look like you did it.

ID thieves can also target your friends and relatives. For instance, if they get into your email or other messaging services they could send desperate-sounding pleas to your contacts saying you’ve been in an accident or have some other emergency and need money to be wired to you immediately. Of course, it’s the scammer who picks up the cash, not you.  Another scam is to send your contacts a message pretending to be you with an attachment or website to click on. Your friends and family trust you, right? So they’ll click on it and when they do, nasty programs called malware could be secretly downloaded to their devices to steal their account numbers, passwords, and other personal information. Now you are responsible for their becoming victims. 

Taking simple steps like not posting your personal information for all to see, using strong passwords to lock your accounts and devices, only downloading apps and other things from trusted sources, ensuring that your devices have protection against malware, and being careful about what you do when you are using public Wi-Fi can save you from a world of pain.

Watch our funny video and read our tips to learn how to protect yourself and the people you care about from id theft and fraud.

Leave a Comment

Commenting Policy

Este es un blog moderado; revisamos todos los comentarios antes de publicarlos. Esperamos que los participantes se traten respetuosamente entre sí y que traten con respeto a los demás bloggers. No publicaremos los comentarios que no cumplan con nuestra política de comentarios. Si un comentario incluye un enlace a un sitio comercial, quitaremos el enlace y publicaremos el comentario. Sólo editaremos los comentarios para quitar los enlaces comerciales.

No publicaremos:

  • spam ni cometarios no relacionados con el tema del blog
  • comentarios que contengan lenguaje vulgar, ataques personales o términos ofensivos dirigidos contra grupos específicos
  • ofrecimientos de venta o promociones
  • comentarios que contengan información que sea obviamente engañosa o falsa
  • comentarios que contengan información personal, como por ejemplo, domicilios privados

Los comentarios enviados a este blog se convierten en material de dominio público. Para proteger su privacidad y la de las demás personas, por favor no incluya información personal. No use este blog para reportar el fraude. Si desea puede presentar una queja. Si tiene preguntas sobre la política aplicable a los comentarios, por favor contáctenos.

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a
user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act
authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online
comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s
(FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer
user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the
FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles
information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.