ID Theft: should you worry and what you might do

ID Theft is getting a lot of attention. That means the wolves are out after your money for protection schemes so you don’t get your identity stolen. The RV community is particularly vulnerable because many financial transactions are away from home with strangers. You need to know the risk so you don’t buy insurance you don’t need but also don’t put yourself at unnecessary risk you can’t afford.

The Nevada Attorney General has a special page for Identity Theft in Nevada. You can hear radio adds for companies that will sell you protection for a small fee per month.

Should this really be a worry for you? How much of a problem is it, really? What should you do to protect yourself. Information Week has a good rundown answering these questions at ID Theft Monitoring Services: What You Need To Know .

Every time there is a breach of personal information, it seems you see a headline. “over 225 million records containing sensitive, personal information have been compromised since January 2005, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.” Not all of these ended up in ID theft and “an Identity Theft Research Center study found that in almost half of all identity theft cases, the victim believed the perpetrator had been family or a friend.)”

If your identity is also stolen and misused, it can take up to 44 hours and $1,200 to clean up the mess. That’s the exception with only 10% or so of the cases. The median is 4 hours and, for half the cases, usually no financial loss.

There are identity thefts that involve more than financial matters. Medical ID theft can be used to obtain ER care with the side effect of confusing your medical records. Social Security fraud can result in your getting into a mess with the IRS. Criminal identity theft is where the police are mislead about who they arrest which means they might come after you when the criminal skips town.

The article mentions some of the things you can do to minimize ID theft. You should watch your credit reports for any improper activity. Put a credit freeze on credit reports so anyone seeking to verify your credit worthiness needs to ask you first. Use credit cards, which have a capped loss, rather than debit cards which have the risk that misuse can clear out your bank account. See the NV AG site for more ideas and links to resources.

Other resources:

Ohio Lemon Law has a list of theft indications and what you can do.

The Owner’s Guide has some tips and links and advice.

The Escapees Club brags about their membership benefit of ID theft insurance.

Now relax, think it through, and don’t let fear send you into spending money for insurance or services that might not really be cost effective for you

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