Digital identity theft

There are four kinds of identity theft:

• Financial – someone using your credit card to buy products; someone using your personal info to open new credit accounts

• Medical – someone getting medical services and providing your info instead of theirs so that your insurance will pay for it

• Criminal – someone getting arrested and giving your info — this will result in you having a criminal record. An example of how this will hurt you: a woman went to apply for a job and when her potential employer pulled her criminal record, there was a prostitution charge on it. Yikes!

• Identity Cloning – living under someone else’s identity. Thieves often use children’s social security numbers since those credit records are hardly checked.

Some ideas to combat identity theft are:

• Make sure and shred unwanted mail with personal info on it.

• Try not to use the same password for every account you have.

• Lock wi-fi routers at home with a secure password.

• Try not to use the security questions feature the way it was intended. For example: when Sarah Palin’s Yahoo account was hacked, the perpetrators simply clicked on the “forgot password” feature and answered the security questions such as “Where were you born?” All of the info was easily available online. Try coming up with an answer that will make sense to you, but someone else will have a hard time guessing.

• Use password generators if possible.

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