Even Celebrities Like Liz Mikel Needs Identity Theft Protection

by : Mike Clover

Did you think Identity Theft Protection is unnecessary? Well you might want to think again. Dallas based actress Liz Mikel just found out the hard way that someone had stolen her identity and been having a field day. She stars in the NBC show "Friday Night Lights", found out that identity thieves had went on-line and opened accounts in her name.

Mikel said that she went to the mail and to her surprise there was a notice from Capital One that there was a problem with an account she did not have. After a phone call to the company she had learned that someone had been opening accounts in her name since early March.

What you need to know
Identity theft affects 9 million people every year, and is currently growing in epidemic proportions according to the FTC. Identity theft starts with the theft of your social security number, your credit cards, and financial information. For Identity thieves this information is like gold.

Here is a variety of methods identity thieves may get a hold of your personal information:
1. Pretexting- The use of false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other resources with your information.
2. Phising ' They pretend to be financial institutions by send you e-mail or pop ups hoping you will reveal your personal information.
3. Old-Fashion Stealing- They steal wallets, credit cards, mail credit card offers, purses, financial statements, and new checks that come in the mail. They steal personal records and bribe employees who have access to your records.
4. Changing your address ' They divert your mail by putting a change of address request in to the post office.
5. Skimming ' They steal credit card and debit numbers by using a special storage device when swiping your cards.
6. Dumpster Diving ' They go through dumpsters looking for mail that was not shredded with your personal information.

Examples of what identity thieves do once they have your information.

Bank / Finance Fraud

- They create counterfeit checks using your name and account number
- Open bank accounts in your name and write bad check
- They may clone your credit or ATM card and electronically drain all your accounts.

Credit Card Fraud
- They may open credit cards in your name. When they will charge these cards up, and not pay the bill. As a result it appears on your credit report.
- They may change the address on your credit cards so that you no longer receive the bill, and run up charges on your credit cards. It may be sometime before you realize there is a problem.

Government Document Fraud
- They may file fraudulent tax returns in you name
- They may use your name and social security number to get government benefits
- They may get a drivers license or id picture with your name but with their picture.