>Another late night of TV last night, couldn’t sleep. I found myself watching a CNN Classroom documentary, “How to Rob A Bank”. Now I’m smarter than I was the night before. And now you will be.

You have a better chance of being a victim of Identity Theft than having a car wreck. If you’ve recently had a car wreck, then you’ve probably already been robbed and don’t know it. It takes most victims 4 – 7 months to realize they’ve been a victim of ID theft.

I’m lucky up to this point because at least my laptop has 12 thousand different encryption programs on it because of my insurance business.

I own an office shredder, so I shred any mail I read with any of my (or my family members) information on it. But that’s not enough, according to what CNN recently discovered. We trust our banks and lending institutions, well we did before the financial fall out I guess.

CNN found out that lots of ID theft comes from rogue employees at credit card companies, banks, lenders, big corporations… damn near everywhere. Rogue employees selling our personal information to the highest bidders. Hell, there’s even people that have been selling our credit reports on the black market. If you’ve applied for credit somewhere, then that person/department has a copy of your credit report. Why is that bad? If I have a copy of your credit report, I can fill out a credit card application (that you threw away in your garbage) with all your information (it’s on your credit report), sign YOUR name, and have it mailed to a bogus address.

I won’t go on further, because it’s 2008 and it’s real. You can’t avoid by not ever going online. You can’t avoid it by refusing mail. Everyone has a credit report if they have a social security card, so you CAN be a victim soon. 12% of victims are actually arrested for theft crimes they didn’t commit. Won’t that look great at your job?!

For $10 per month you can get $1M ID theft protection from LifeLock, click here.

There are hundreds of other ID theft protection programs out there, but they’re too pricey.

Check with your banks, credit card companies, lenders, Internet service providers, department stores—anyone you do business with and ask point blank, “How much protection against ID theft to you provide for me and my family?” IMPORTANT: Call/write everyone you’ve done business with and request the forms needed to “opt out” from those companies sharing your credit information with their third party vendors. Yes, if you don’t “opt out” then they have “assumed” permission to sell your information to others. And they will and do.

I personally know victims of ID theft. For example, a sci-fi writer friend found out in 2004 that someone had stolen over $40K from credit card companies using HIS social security number. He’s STILL cleaning up that mess.

I’m not a LifeLock affiliate, so I’m not profiting from your reading this. For $120 per year, or the price of a latte and sandwich per month, you can keep your name YOURS!

It sucks to know that someone punk ass kid in Nigeria or Houston can steal your information using your email address from one of those stupid “try this for good luck” emails your friends have been forwarding. But they can and they will.
And hey, next time you get a “Try This, It Really Works” forwarded email from a friend or co-worker, look at ALL THOSE EMAIL addresses attached to it. Someone in that chain is harvesting email addresses for spam. So delete the email immediately. Plus it wastes bandwidth (wonder why it takes the internet so long to download sometimes?) and then do what I do, write back the bozo that sent you that forward with
“My spam filter keeps kicking out those forwards because of all the email addresses. Plus they slow down my email server…. I appreciate getting personal emails from you, but please leave me out on those forwards from now on. Thanks.”