Identity theft can lead to filing bankruptcy

Identity theft is a leading cause of financial distress. This is an ever-growing problem, not just here in the United States, but also around the world. Identity thieves are finding it easier every day to obtain the personal information needed to open bank and credit accounts. In most cases, the person that owns that identification is put through a traumatic period, trying to disprove those debts.

There are three specific areas to address when trying to prevent identity theft: deterrence, detection and defense (which may involve seeking relief through bankruptcy). Bear in mind that being successful in the first area will likely eliminate your need for the second two.  Our focus today is on deterrence.

DETERRENCE
There are so many different ways that scammers can obtain information about you that it would be difficult to cover them all. What is important is that you reveal as little about yourself to strangers as possible. Here are a few areas that require particular attention:

  • Lock your mail box – mail boxes are one of the easiest to target. A simple lock will slow them down.
  • Shred any unwanted document – while your mail box may be the first target, your rubbish is the second. If you have documents that have personal information, shred them before tossing them. If you deal with someone else’s personal information, shred it before tossing it.
  • Avoid online forms – before filling in an online form, check the credentials of the site asking for the information. In most cases, they don’t really need the information so keep it simple.
  • Passwords – regularly change passwords and make them as complex as you are comfortable with. Whatever you do, don’t write the password and login on a post-it note and stick to your monitor – you would be surprised at how many people do – especially in the workplace.
  • Avoid telephone inquiries – the telephone has also become an easy way to target you for personal information. Be wary of any telephone call, for example, that suggests you have won a prize. Get their phone number and suggest you’ll call back.
  • Be wary of emails – if you receive an email requesting you to visit a site to verify and correct information – be careful. Check the URL to be sure it is going to the right place. Most creditable online businesses will not ask you for your login or password information – they already have it.

The common theme running through each of the above is to reveal as little as possible about yourself. If you do feel that someone has obtained information about you and that you may be at risk, check out the FTC’s latest FAQ on identity theft.

If you are suddenly being harassed for overdue credit amounts that you haven’t incurred, consult an attorney. You may be able to avoid a serious battle with credit providers if you act early. It is also wise to request an annual credit report. These are free and will list all credit activities made in your name. Again, if there are serious discrepancies, seek out help early.The FTC has further information on this action as well.

Identity theft is a leading cause of bankruptcy – don’t let it happen to you.

Perrotta, Cahn & Prieto represents clients throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States.  We have offices conveniently located throughout Georgia.  To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm, call us toll-free at 866-382-8900 or visit us online at www.northgabankruptcy.com.

We have offices in: Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton, Atlanta and Dallas

Serving clients in: Bartow, Floyd, Paulding, Cherokee, Polk, Whitfield, Douglas, Cobb, Fulton, Chatham, and all of Northwest Georgia.

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Posted on June 7, 2012, in Bankruptcy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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