Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) --More than 8.1 million adult victims fell victim to identity theft and out-of-pocket losses rose 63 percent per incident in 2010. Child identity theft is also a growing crime, causing damage to the pristine credit reports of children.
Recognizing the need for a grassroots consumer education outreach, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo and Better Business Bureau serving Upstate New York have joined forces with Tops Friendly Markets, other business partners and national advocacy organizations to launch the 4th annual “Secure Your Identity Day,” Saturday, October 22nd. This event coincides with National Protect Your Identity Week October 16 – 22, 2011.
According to a report from Javelin Strategy and Research, the theft resulted in the loss of $37 billion dollars and consumer out-of-pocket cost increased 63 percent from $387 in 2009 to $631 per identity fraud incident in 2010. On top of that, children may be 51 times more likely than adults to have their identity stolen, according to a study conducted by AllClear ID.
“There are significant losses for identity theft victims,” said Paul Atkinson, CCCS of Buffalo, Inc. President and CEO. “Access to personal information is a significant factor linked to this crime and we’re doing what we can to help people understand how they can be their own first line of defense.”
Child identity theft is a surprising crime for many parents who are unaware of the vulnerable position their child’s most sensitive document could be in, making the focus of this year’s events to highlight the issue nationwide. Crime experts know that hundreds of inactive Social Security numbers are being found online – most assigned to children under the age of 18 who have not started using them yet. Scammers then sell the numbers under different names to help people establish fake credit.
“We’re all at risk for identity theft, but our children are particularly vulnerable,” said David Polino, Better Business Bureau President. “It’s our role as parents to understand how to protect our children and in later years, teach them how to safely manage their personal information.” AllClear ID has created a free way for a parent or guardian to check a child's Social Security number to determine if he or she is a victim of identity theft. Visit www.allclearid.com/child for more information on this free service.
On Saturday, October 22nd, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo and the Better Business Bureau invites consumers and businesses to protect their identities by shredding unwanted personal, financial or confidential documents for FREE at “Secure Your Identity Day”.
Cell phones will also be collected and given to 911 Cell Phone Bank.org for processing to include a complete data wipe, erasing all personal information. 911 Cell Phone Bank will provide them to participating victim service organizations with free emergency cell phones to be distributed to crime victims in the community.
This year the event will expand locations to three Tops Friendly Markets sites, one in Amherst, Buffalo and Cheektowaga. Full details listed below.
Secure Your ID Day Details:
What: Free on-the-spot document shredding, free cell phone drop-off with a guarantee to strip personal content, tips and resources to help you learn how to protect your identity. Bring up to three boxes or bags of documents to be shredded per vehicle. Documents should be removed from binders and staple free.
When: Saturday, October 22, 2011, from 10AM to 2PM
• Tops Friendly Markets at 3865 Union Rd., Cheektowaga, 14225 - 716.684.5927
• Tops Friendly Markets at 3035 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst, 14228 - 716.515.0025
• Tops Friendly Markets at 2101 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, 14207 - 716.515.0050
CCCS and BBB offer 10 Tips to Keep Your Personal Information Safe:
1. Shred documents with financial and personal information.
2. Never leave ATM or credit card receipts behind.
3. Don’t use an obvious password like your birth date.
4. Do not give out your Social Security number, carry your card with you, or put your number on checks.
5. Never give out personal information unless you know who you are dealing with.
6. Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails.
7. Keep your computer secure by using firewalls, anti-spyware and antivirus software, and keep them up-to-date.
8. Review your bank, credit card and other financial statements often and carefully.
9. Monitor your credit report at least twice a year (www.annualcreditreport.com).
10. Register with the National Do Not Call Registry at (888-382-1222 or www.donotcall.gov).