Protect yourself from this crime; you can be the next victim.
The organized crime of identity theft
By Carolina Freedman, Director of Events and Communications
The United States Department of Justice conducted an investigation in June 2013 on identity theft noting that more than 11 million Americans annually are victims of this crime and that 7 percent of American households have at least one major or person equal to 12 years who has been affected by some sort of identity theft. These figures are really frightening because this problem represents billions of dollars each year. This same study reported a financial loss of $ 5,000 on average per incident not counting the time you have to invest the affected communicating in writing and verbally with agencies and companies concerned because the burden of proving innocence lies with the victim. After countless formalities, the person can regain financial stability but unfortunately the ghost of this offender can continue haunted him for many years. “I am 41 years old and was a victim of identity theft at age 27 when a thief opened my car and stole a document that had my address. He had an accomplice in the licensing and removed a false driving license and then went to the post office and changed my direction from him. He called for new checks to the bank and began shopping indiscriminately. This year I ruined my credit, my driver’s license was suspended, the police were looking for me and I almost lost my scholarship application, “said Anthony Lam theft of which he was victim in 1999. Currently, when Anthony has to renew your license driving has to wait hours at the office of transit while they check their identity. “The problem of credit cards was very large and took a long time to resolve. Until very few years it is that I could reapply to rebuild my credit card and “confesses this victim as thousands of people who have suffered this ordeal.
Prevention is the key
The Federal Trade Commission (EUA, for its acronym in English) defines identity theft as a crime that occurs when someone uses personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number or number of credit card without the permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity thieves take advantage of neglect and innocence of the community to access private information with which to make a false identity. The Social Security office noted among some of the methods for obtaining this documentation the following: stealing wallets and correspondence (credit offers previously approved, new checks and tax information), websites that are not protected, records business, stealing personal information from household garbage, posing as someone to phone or email and buying personal information from internal sources. Any place where the social security number is supplied is a potential source of theft by what experts like Giovanna Gillioti Specialist Community Relations ClearPoint, nonprofit organization, recommends always ask if you can give a different identification to social security number and carefully destroy all documents that have personal information.
Internet and social networks are other alternatives used by unscrupulous people so it is very important to take maximum security measures. In order to guide the Latino community on these issues, the federal government with the collaboration of several organizations such as the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, the Federal Trade Commission, among others created the AlertaenLinea.gov site where consumers can find updated and professional information to avoid being scammed or robbed in good faith. With regard to the management of Internet experts this website recommend special care with public wireless networks as they are not always safe so advise when a public point of connection is used, send information only through websites are fully encrypted, do not use the same password for multiple websites because if a person gains access through a public network to one of your accounts you can access the others, not stay for long in an account, use a network virtual VPN to protect your information, among others. Special attention should be with social networks like Facebook where quite personal data so you specialists as Frank Abagnale, who after making millionaires falsifying documents and identity theft, became advisor FBI security is shared, advised not to place passport style photos profile, nor the date of birth or the city where he was born. “If you put this information, the offender will be 90 percent closer to steal your identity” he confesses this national security expert.
The Hispanic community and disorientation
The increase in cases among the Latino population is growing by leaps and bounds since there is much ignorance about the scope of identity theft and the procedure to follow in case of being a victim. Concerned precisely this reality, Money Market interviewed Karen Barney, Program Director Resource Center Identity Theft (Identity Theft Resource Center -ITRC – for its acronym in English), nonprofit organization that provides support level national victims and consumers about identity theft. “In the ITRC we have seen an increase in calls from Hispanics. In the first six months of 2013, we have had a record of 413 calls from consumers and victims which is more than the number of calls we receive throughout the year 2012 “mentioned the director Barney. Among the most frequent fraud reports that the Latino community in this Resource Center are phishing to acquire documents or government benefits and opening credit cards or fraudulent use of existing accounts.
Among the possible reasons why Hispanics appear to be one of the most fragile communities, as stated by the expert, they are ignorance and neglect of the Latino community to keep your confidential documents and information. “Often the Hispanic population hand over personal documents without first investigating the reasons for which they are asking especially if the person requires them and fraudulently represents an authority as a police officer, representative government, education officer, etc.” emphasizes Barney. Another factor that makes it susceptible to Latinos is the fact that Hispanics use two surnames, paternal and maternal, and knowing that criminals use the mother’s surname for their own benefit. Precisely because of the increase in this crime among the Hispanic community, the government through organizations like ITRC has made several educational campaigns among the Latino community involving several media especially during the transmission of major events such as football games, novels, etc.
Another of the most common uses burglars stealing identity is fraudulent tax returns claiming their victims. About Mariana Cervantes, Head of Business Development in Florida Multicultural company HR & B states: “Identity theft and fraudulent tax particularly affects our offices located in Miami County. Often we see as our Latino customers carry in their wallets your Social Security forgetting the dangers that this represents. ”
Florida and children, particularly vulnerable public
Consumer Sentinel Network, a company that tabulates the main complaints and claims that consumers make with the Federal Trade Commission says in its statistics that identity theft is the most common complaint among Americans in 2012. Similarly, studies say Florida as the state takes the lead in this crime and Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Pompano Beach as metropolitan areas where most phishing scams occur throughout the United States.
Another figure that is rising is child identity theft by which an adult facing financial problem can restart your credit for years using the Social Security number of a child without parents become aware of this crime. “Parents and children can ignore victims of identity theft until such time as the child grows and submit an application for a credit card, a job, rent an apartment or get a loan,” says Alvaro Pulg specialist consumer education of the Federal Trade Commission. A criminal can use as clichés such as a school or a doctor’s office to enter private information of children and forge a new identity; which is why the Pulg specialist recommends that parents keep in a safe place personal information about your child (Social Security number, birth certificate, birth date) and verify at least once a year if there a credit report on behalf of his son and immediately correct any errors found in this document.
If you are a victim of identity theft or is suspected to be, the person must contact each of the banks where they have accounts, file a complaint with the police station and contact the 3 credit bureaus (Expirian, TransUnion and Equifax). The portal GobiernoUSA.gov, official government site in Spanish United States explains in detail this procedure. Similarly, the victim may contact the Resource Center Identity Theft, ITRC, the phone number 1-888) 400-5530 where Spanish advisers to accompany him and guide them with accurate and updated information.
As mentioned, the Hispanic community is much more likely to be a victim of identity theft and particularly the one located in the areas of Miami and Fort Lauderdale hence the importance of awareness in this population and educate them about this crime every day hurts many more people including children whose parents are unaware of the scope of the world of crime.