Vigilance Against Identity
October 17, 2009
Anchorage, Alaska - The Alaska Department of Law is observing
national Protect Your Identity Week by urging consumers to be
vigilant in protecting personal information.
The National Foundation for
Credit Counseling and the Councils of Better Business Bureaus
are launching the identify-theft initiative Saturday, and it
runs through Oct. 24. Identity theft has topped the Federal Trade
Commission's list of consumer fraud complaints since at least
Assistant Attorney General
Ed Sniffen, who works in consumer protection for the Department
of Law, noted that a few simple precautions can minimize the
risk of identity theft:
- Don't share personal information,
particularly a Social Security number, except with trusted intimates.
Such information should not be carried outside the home.
- Shred junk mail and other
documents that contain personal information.
- Conceal PINs from view when
using a credit or debit card at a cash machine.
- Never respond to spam e-mail
requesting personal information. Many e-mails purport to be
from customers' banks, credit unions or other financial institutions
or businesses and ask recipients to "verify" account
information. These are all scams.
- Never give any personal information
on the phone. In "pretexting," a scam artist calls
and pretends to represent a credit card company, a phone company,
the police, the IRS, the jury clerk's office or a business and
asks for your personal information. No legitimate business or
government office will do this.
- Passwords should not be obvious.
Use of birthdays, for example, is discouraged.
"The Alaska Legislature
wisely passed an identity-theft law requiring businesses and
governments to provide notice when personal information has been
compromised," said Attorney General Dan Sullivan. "Familiarity
with this new law can help consumers protect themselves."
Consumers can place a freeze
on credit reports and petition a court for a declaration of innocence
after identity theft. Also, the law requires prompt destruction
of records with personal information once it is no longer needed.
For a summary, click here.
On the Web:
Protect Your I.D.
FTC's general information on
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