Tuesday, October 19, 2010
National Protect Your Identity Week Oct. 17-23
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes (ftc.gov).
Identity theft continues to grow, with the number of victims in the U.S. reaching 11.1 million in 2009, a 12.5% increase over the previous year, according to Javelin Strategy and Research, Pleasanton, Calif.
Threats exist online and off and no one is completely safe. But consumers who better understand what may put them at risk for ID theft can make themselves less vulnerable.
One educational consumer resource is OnGuardOnline.gov, which provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry with topics including computer disposal, safety on social networking sites, kids' privacy, and much more. Do you really know the risks of peer-to-peer file sharing or using wireless networks, how to spot a risky online offer, and how to secure your laptop in case it's stolen? You'll find a whole list of clever interactive games to sharpen your skills in these areas and more here.