Commentary

MILAM COUNTY T.R.I.A.D.

Hackers, ID thieves are lurking everywhere
Ted Hubert

he traditional theft of property will be surpassed soon by identity theft. The U.S .Department of Justice warns of the explosion in identity theft from 2005-2010 with increases of 50%.

In 2007 there were approximately a million malicious attempts to commit fraud and now it is predicted to reach 130 million malicious programs.

When a card is stolen, everyone becomes its victim. The business, the banks, the individual all will lose money. The business hires experts to remove malware plus legal settlements. These funds are recovered by increasing prices on products purchased by the general public.

Most merchants are content to clean up the damage from an attack, rather than pay for better preventive measures.”

Banks have become savvy about spotting potentially fraudulent activity and quashing questionable transactions.

Some analysts wonder whether that approach will be sustainable as the problem grow.

The range of loss for the victim of identity theft ranges from a minor inconvenience of getting another card to filing for bankruptcy.

Before the crime you did not need to borrow money, but your credit was good and loans were available. After the crime you may need to borrow money, but your credit is destroyed and applications for loans are denied.

Con artists want your full name, your date of birth, your addresses (physical and e-mail). Telephone number, your social security number, bank account number, driver’s license number, employment or student number, utility numbers, professional license number, passport number, computer identification name and passwords, credit card numbers and your PIN, plus information about your family, maiden names for example.

Many those are public information or people proudly display personal data on social websites. Many e-mail addresses are shared.

What steps can be taken to avoid being victimized? You can get off the preapproved credit card mailing list.

Go to optoutprescreen.com or call (888)567-8688 toll free. You can pay a $1.00 to dmachoice.org to put a stop to other junk mail, if junk mail is an aggravation to you.

If the service is available, enroll in your bank’s service to notify you about unusual activities on your accounts. Ask the credit card provider about the EMV chip technology. You can ask for a replacement credit card with your photograph.

Use difficult passwords rather than the simple ones.

Check your credit at least once a year. It is free at annualcreditreport.com You can freeze your report for a fee, however if you are over 65 or if you have proof that your ID had been stolen in the past, the fees are generally waived.

Rural residents should not leave outgoing mail in the mailbox with the flag up, if you can carry the mail to the post office or drop the mail in a USPS collection box.

Rural mailboxes can be opened by anyone. A piece of mail holding your check as payment to some company has your name, address, account number, the company name where you trade, your account number and more.

Be careful how you dispose of trash. Shredding papers before they are thrown away is the safe way. Take care not to click on links provided for your convenience in emails or telephone numbers to call without knowing if these are legal contacts.

Remember June 4 at the Milano Senior Citizens Building, Susan Larson has materials from the Milam County Homeland Security Office to present in a short program.

Call A.D. Lagrone at 512-455- 3420 to reserve a meal. ted@myalpha1.com


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2013-05-23 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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