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Program: Preventing Identity Theft

Founded in 1999, the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft, data breaches, cybersecurity, scams/fraud, and privacy issues. The ITRC provides no cost victim assistance and consumer education through its call center, website, social media channels, live chat feature and ID Theft Help Mobile App. Director of Communications Kelly Dwyer from the Identity Theft Resource Center spoke about how identity theft occurs, what individuals can do to protect themselves, and what to do if (when) they become a victim of Identity Theft.

The numbers are staggering.  Last year more than 17 million people were identified as victims of identity theft and over the past six years, fraudsters have stolen $112 billion.  All they need is your name, phone number, email address, and Social Security Number. 


There are four types of Identity Theft:

  1. Financial Identity Theft:  
    1. you may be notified about an account that you did not open,
    2. you were unexpectedly denied a credit card or loan,
    3. there are items on your credit report that are not yours,
    4. Someone used you credit or debit card or wrote checks in your name.
  1. Government Identity Theft: 
    1. Your tax return denied because someone had already filed using your name,
    2. You were denied government benefits because someone is already claiming them using your identity.
  1. Criminal Identity Theft: 
    1. You may find out that there is warrant out for your arrest,
    2. You failed an employment background check because it showed criminal charges that were not yours.
  1. Medical Identity Theft: 
    1. You may have received bills from doctors you never visited,
    2. Your insurance statements are showing you received care at a hospital in a state where you never lived,
    3. Your medical records show you have health condition that you do not have.

How do thieves get your information?

  1. Lost or stolen wallets
  2. Mail theft and dumpster diving
  3. Shoulder surfing (looking over your shoulder) and solicitations
  4. Data breaches
  5. Scams and phishing emails
  6. Phone scams

What can you do?

  1. Computer and mobile safeguards:
    1. Protect your passwords/passcodes
    2. Use antivirus software
    3. Lock your screen
  1. Internet:
    1. Strong passwords
    2. Never open suspicious links/attachments
    3. HTTPS(S) – (S) means it is a secure website
    4. Limit usage of public Wi-Fi
  1. Be proactive:
    1. Order credit reports
    2. Ask for help: