Can you imagine the Internal Revenue Service calling you up and telling you they have a large check for you?
Now, they need you to give them your bank account number so they can deposit this check. They might even ask you to verify your Social Security Number so they can check it “against” the one on the check.
It would shock you to know how many will give this information to a scam artist. Several million Americans are paying billions to get their identity back. We have a large group of undocumented workers in this country ready to buy your identity and others who would be happy to spend your money.
If you are or were in the military, your odds of being a victim increase based on your moving around the country and more people having access to your personal information.
Remember, the IRS will never contact you by phone or e-mail and ask you for sensitive information.
I would be several times a billionaire if there was any truth in the e-mails that I get telling me that I had won a lotto.
There are several things you can do to fight identity theft. First, keep your credit cards to a minimum. Why have a gas credit card when you can use another credit card to buy gas?
It is a lot easier to check your credit statements, which is your responsibility.
The inspector general of the Social Security Administration, Patrick P. O’Carroll Jr., agrees that displaying Social Security numbers on Medicare cards unnecessarily places millions of individuals at risk for identity theft. Most agencies, such as Veterans Administration, do not use Social Security numbers on the identification cards that they use.
You can practice the following ways to protect your identity.
• Don’t leave mail in your mailbox. If you are going to be away, have your mail stopped.
• Don’t give out personal information.
• Destroy all sensitive information with in a paper shredder. A few dollars spent on a paper shredder could save you thousands.
• Be aware of your surroundings and prying eyes and ears at ATMs or during in-store purchases; protect your cards and checks.
• Identity theft is a crime. If you suspect it, notify the bank, police and the credit card company as soon as possible.
Ernest C. White is a retired master sergeant and civil servant and lives in Gibsonville. Contact him at email@example.com