Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Watch out for your Idenity

I spent the last 2 days at a conference called "Emerging Trends and Issues in Fraud Investigation" put on by the Auditor of the State of Ohio. I needed the continuing education credit for both my CPA and CFE, and it was really cheap (16 hrs for $150 - which is DIRT cheap, actually) Not that I pay for it, but...

Anyway, one of the workshops I went to today was in regards to identity theft. The orator was an investigator in the Chicago Police department, and he was fabulous. I am sure all of you out there are aware identity theft is increasing exponentially as we speak - in 2006, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimated a $652 billion dollar loss related to identity theft. It is growing exponentially every year - right Nat???

I am sure you are all very careful - I am relatively obsessed with this actually. I had a good friend find out her identity was stolen when she went to get student loans for grad school. Myself, I have had credit card info stolen and have had to deal with credit agencies to get a warning put on my account if someone tried to open credit with my SSN.

At any rate, I wanted to make sure you were all very aware of just how common this is and how we unwittingly put ourselves at risk every day by for being the victims of this crime (it can happen in any and all retail Establishments) I have included the links to the FTC and DOJ website, they have really good information on how to protect yourself against identity theft. I have pulled my name off all those credit card offers and my junk mail has decreased substantially. Additionally, I also joined a credit watch sponsored by Equifax ( Cost me $15 bucks a month, but I can set notification limits on my credit cards of when they increase over certain balances, and have gotten notices from them telling my my Chase card went from 0-$100. The $15 is well worth it in my mind.

Anyway, here are the sites for further information. Take a bite out of all those unscrupulous folks out there and don't let them steal the good credit we have all worked all our lives for.

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