Identity Theft On The Rise
New Yorker, Jean Thelismon, knows what it's like to be a victim of identity theft.
"I lost my wallet. I reported it and someone had been using my social getting new credit cards everything" he says.
"I was upset, every time you apply for something they tell me you can't have it."
Thelismon says the theif was caught and sent to jail.
The Federal Trade Commission says every year, nine million Americans have their identities stolen.
Security Expert and CEO of IdentityFinder.com, Todd Feinman, says when it comes to keeping your identy safe in a digital age, you need to do more than shred papers.
"We're told to look both ways to cross the street, but no one tells us to use a seven character password" he says.
As students head back to college, Feinman says never email sensitve information to the Financial Aid Department or the Registar's office.
"It's not a secure mechanism. Anything potentially could be easily stolen by a hacker. You want to make sure you never put a social security number inside an email, never put a credit card number inside an email message."
Many of us have several different passwords we have to remember. Feinman says even though it may be tempting to use the same one for different website, if you do, you might as well give a their your bank account information.
"Some sites aren't as secure as others" he warns. He says if you use the same password for a mom an pop shop, it might be easily broken into by a hacker. The hacker could then steal your password and try that same password and username combination on all the banking websites in the world.
Feinman says to avoid storing personal information on your computer or in a web browser. "No more cc number stored in a text file, no more pass put in emails."
If you do have sensitive information saved on your computer or on the web, he urges you to encrypt it. It's a simple feature that's built into most computers for free.
And if you want to protect your identity even more, IdentityFinder.com has a free software download that makes it easy.
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