Reporter’s Identity Stolen

It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, rich or poor, if you have good credit or bad credit, pay with cash or credit card, whether or not you use the Internet, or even own a computer. You can be a maintenance worker or a scientist. It doesn’t matter.

Whether you are alive or even if you are dead, as long as you have a Social Security number, you are a potential identity theft victim.

Reporters tend to be fairly savvy and well informed. Identity theft, however, is a complicated issue, and anyone can be stumped, regardless of your level of security intelligence.

One reporter received an alert about “irregular check card activity.” It was sent late one weeknight, and she didn’t see the email until the following night. At first, she couldn’t believe her bank account could have been compromised, and suspected it was a phishing email designed to trick her into disclosing her account information. But when she called her bank, she learned that nearly all her money had already been stolen.

“I soon discovered I was a victim of identity theft and that a woman posing as me in California was allowed to spend and withdraw all of my family’s money in two linked accounts from my bank, without stealing my debit or credit cards. She took more than $40,000.”

The thief used a fake driver’s license, which replaced the victim’s ID in the bank’s computer, signed documents with a signature that looked nothing like the victim’s, and gave the bank a new phone number and address. She took over and cleaned out two accounts, one of which was a checking account used for family expenses, and the other was an investment account.

After a great deal of stress and aggravation, the victim and her husband managed to get their stolen savings reimbursed by their bank. She still doesn’t know how the thief managed to steal her identity, or if she was ever caught.

Identity theft can happen to anyone. McAfee Identity Protection offers proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your accounts. McAfee puts victims first and provides live access to fraud resolution agents who work with victims to help restore stolen identities, even from thefts that occurred prior to subscribing to McAfee’s service.

For additional tips, visit CounterIdentityTheft.com.

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him discuss scambaiting on Fox News. (Disclosures)

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