When you’re a victim of identity theft, it can be really tempting to want to just throw up your hands and start over fresh with new information. And in the case of your bank accounts, credit card accounts, or online accounts, that option is pretty much available to you, especially if the damage is serious enough or widespread enough to warrant cancelling all of your accounts.

Each month, the Identity Theft Resource Center hosts an informative Twitter chat on ways to protect the public from fraud and scams. Be sure to join us for our next Twitter chat on Thursday, April 2nd at 2pm ET/11am PT with our co-hosts, Merchants Information Solutions, Inc. and the Better Business Bureau Serving Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa. Our topic this month is how identity thieves and scammers are taking advantage of social media platforms to defraud consumers and businesses.

With a seeming limitless number of ID-theft and cyber-attack headlines, I get concerned that small business owners (and consumers) will shut down and simply ignore the ID theft threat altogether. My research in just the past 10 days shows a myriad of news headlines and articles where both businesses and consumers continue to be overwhelmed with the challenges of identity theft and data breach events.

The Identity Theft Resource Center is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, and the funding it receives from grants, government support, and contributions from individuals and businesses helps the organization maintain a 24-hour a day, seven day a week toll-free call center. This call center means there is someone standing by to offer information and support whenever identity thieves strike.

You’re probably familiar with the idea of identity theft, but may not be as familiar with the different types. There are a wide variety of ways that a thief can use your personally identifiable information, and each can carry its own unique criminal charges and consequences.

One of the unfortunate residual types of this wrongdoing is called criminal identity theft. You’d think that all identity theft is criminal, and you’d be correct to think so, but that’s not what the word refers to in this case.

The misuse of student information is now four times the rate of ordinary consumers, as reported by the 2015 Javelin Strategy & Research Identity Fraud Report released last week. While I've been ringing the ID theft "alarm bell" for students for years, this new report really puts the risk into perspective.

Imagine criminals want to steal your household belongings and you watch only one door — even though there are three doors. If you have or are contemplating purchasing credit monitoring, that's not bad, but it absolutely won't help stop the biggest and most prevalent forms of ID theft.


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The TMI Weekly

Breaches here, identity theft there and invasions of privacy  everywhere... Should you be worried and, if so, how can you protect yourself? 
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