Dumb stuff smart people do (a reminder to us all) – Identity theft
Last August Anna Bernanke left her purse on the back of her chair in a Washington DC Starbucks leaving her pocketbook on her seat. Her purse was stolen off her chair. She reported the incident to the DC police and told her bank.
Anna is the wife of the head of our Federal Reserve–Ben Bernanke. Mr. Bernanke is responsible for overseeing our banking system and knows a lot about a lot of things. Mrs. Bernanke is also a bright person who did something very dumb.
Inside her purse was her driver’s license, her check book and her social security card.
It is 2009 dear reader. Please do the following three things:
1. Go to your wallet and your purse. Take out each and every credit card, ID card, health insurance card, student ID card, scrap of paper, etc. Look to see if your social security number is on any of these cards. If so, take that card out of your wallet. Why give away your social security number?
2. Take your check book out of your wallet–why give thieves your checking account number?
3. Take your social security card out of your wallet.
Do these three simple things to save yourself from spending hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars and hours of time repairing your credit and proving your good name. Identity theft is a global enterprise and your nine digit social is worth $$$ here and abroad.
Mrs. Bernanke has had an army of law enforcement officers from DC Police and the US Attorney’s office working on her case for the past year. Soon after the purse was stolen, some thug opened an account using one of Mrs. Bernanke’s checks and then passed another check draining that account. Since then police have identified 500 separate instances of crime associated with the account number and social security card in Mrs. Bernanke’s purse. The US Attorney has indicted at least 7 members of a crime ring that participated in these acts.
If your identity is compromised, you may not get the same “service” from the police as Anna did.
And if you’re really ready to protect yourself–take the next step and Freeze your accounts with each of the three bureaus. Check out my other blog posts for the how-to.