Even Your Kids Aren’t Safe From IDENTITY THEFT!

This week is National Protect Your Identity Week. Many think that identity theft could never happen to them. However, so many people have been victims, it’s not something you should ignore. The wildest story on identity theft, is the 9-year-old whose identity was stolen to create an $18,000 line of credit. Take note, not even your kids are safe from it.

What’s the threat, you might wonder. When your identity (social security, name, driver’s license, etc.) is used to secure credit and to make purchases, it is very difficult to prove that you were not involved. Lenders and creditors like to believe that they screen carefully when awarding credit, and that their practices are fool proof. What this means to you is that they think you are lying. You then have to prove that you do not have the property or items purchased or that you could not have been the one to make the purchase. It’s tricky.

Over 9 million people a year are victims, at an average cost of $4,849 to each individual. That number doesn’t include the many hours and extra dollars involved. Some consumers victimized by identity theft may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. In rare cases, they may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit.

Luckily, there are some easy ways to safeguard yourself from falling victim to identity theft. Once you know how your information can be stolen, you can protect it. According to the FTC, the number one way that thieves get information is by “dumpster diving”. They retrieve discarded documents that you throw away. Think about the way you go through your mail. Do you just put credit card offers, bank statements, tax returns and other data in the trash?

Shredding your documents is the safest way to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Personal shred machines are available at most office supply stores and are a good investment for your home. This Friday, however, you can bring up to three boxes of your personal documents for free shredding in celebration of National Protect Your Identity Week.

Kansas City Saves, a part of America Saves, involves over 50 local businesses that provide financial education resources to the community. Shred Time, Bank of the West, Essential Knowledge and many others have partnered to create this FREE event. Here is the information to attend:

Friday, October 23rd.

Time: 5:00 – 9:00 AM

Place: Bank of the West, 6263 Nall Avenue Mission, KS 66202, located on Shawnee Mission Parkway.

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