The FBI recently announced that identity thief Lawrence Fudge was convicted and sentenced for running an identity theft ring in Philadelphia for at least six years before being caught. Fudge obtained personal information from rogue employees he bribed in banks and insurance companies who accessed their company’s records and gave the information about their customers to Fudge who used it to both steal money directly from the victims’ bank accounts as well as use their names and credit to open accounts in his victims’ names which he used to make purchases for himself.
You are only as secure as the weakest security of a company with which you do business. This is an unfortunate fact of life. However, recognizing this fact, it is important to both limit the personal information you provide companies with which you do business as much as possible as well as make sure that you regularly monitor all of your accounts such as bank accounts on a monthly basis, at least. You also should get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies as is your right under federal law. The law permits you to get a free copy from each of these companies, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax once a year, however, a smart tactic is to get a free report from one of them and then four months later a free report from one of the remaining companies and finally four months after that a free copy from the last of the companies so that you can get free copies every four months. Review these reports carefully to uncover any signs of identity theft.