Wednesday, June 11, 2014

John Sileo offers identity theft prevention tips on the "Rachel" show; some are simple

Rachel, a syndicated cooking and home show on ABC, offered Identity Theft expert John Sileo today. Sileo says he almost went to jail when his identity was stolen, and lost $300000 that has not been recovered.
Sileo has authored the book “Privacy Means Profit: Prevent Identity Theft and Secure You and Your Bottom Line”, by Wiley.
Sileo suggested not carrying a Social Security Card, and not carrying the debit card around when not needed. He also suggested that insist that your debit card has a picture (mine with Bank of America does) and write “photo id required” on all cards that you use in person. 
He suggested putting all critical home documents in a heavy safe (although safes get stolen sometimes). 

It's very critical to protect smartphones with pin codes, should they be stolen in street robberies.
Since I am retired, I don’t use credit as often as others.  I did check my reports in April before traveling and they were clean.  It is harder to impersonate me than someone with a family and a more complicated financial life.  My having published books probably makes it harder to impersonate me and get away with it, as does an unusual last name.
Sileo said that most identity theft comes from three sources: people who know you who are down and out, local criminals (especially drug addicts, who are more prone to dumpster diving), and organized crime.  He also described medical identity theft, which sounds hard to pull off.
Sileo is also an expert on data breaches and wireless security.
Identity theft is particularly problematic in an individualistic society that assumes a person is ultimately responsible for the integrity of his own identity and doesn't require businesses and employers to offer the benefit of the doubt. 
Lifetime aired a film “Identity Theft: The Michelle Brown Story”, in 2004, about an unbelievable case of theft promulgated by an immigrant domestic employee. 

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