ID theft now THE mainstream crime

Identity theft is now the fastest growing crime in America – maybe that is because you don’t need a gun to do it (although I hear violent crime is rising as well). Of course, despite providing a few decent tips, this article goes on to review the danger of the internet, while I think you should stick to concentrating on the offline. Tips from our friends (and my two cents):

– Take care with your Social Security card (shit, I don’t even have mine anymore)
– Get copies of your credit report (how about using a fraud alert with the reporting agencies – it makes getting credit a little tougher, but nothing that a handy copy of your power bill and two forms of government issued photo ID won’t easily fix)
– Shred documents (get a scanner for important stuff, and use PGP disk to keep those scans safe too)
– Use the post office for outgoing mail (uh, use the post office for inbound mail too – PO boxes are the perfect separate between where you live – and where ID thieves go digging through those shredded docs in the trash – and where you get billed for everything).

Beyond that, since the net is primarily a credit card world, keep it that way. Don’t use bank accounts and/or debit cards for processing transactions online. And ask your card issuer for a new card every year or so – you’ll have to change recurring payment plans from a few vendors, but it is worth it (just in case an online merchant gets busted into).


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