Identity Theft

 Uncategorized
Jun 222004
 
Authors: Sara Crocker

When flipping through junk mail, many people do not think credit

card applications and sweepstakes gimmicks could endanger their

identity.

However, in 2003 more than 9.9 million Americans were victims of

identity theft, collectively losing $5 billion, according to a

press release issued by Eloise Campanella, Larimer County Sheriff’s

Press Information Officer.

“Identity theft is rampant,” Campanella said. “It’s absolutely

widespread.”

Campanella said most of this theft happens when mail containing

credit card information or blank checks is stolen. This kind of

theft is hard to trace because many people do not even know that

their mail has been stolen and by the time they find out it is

often too late to prevent identity theft.

Campanella said she uses a locking mailbox to protect her mail.

She also pointed out that the red flags on mailboxes used to alert

mail carriers of their outgoing mail might also alert thieves.

“It’s just telling anybody, ‘Come to my mailbox,'” Campanella

said.

While a locking mailbox may be an effective way to protect

important mail, many students said the chances of them buying one

for protection was slim. Amber West, a senior microbiology major,

said that while she has a locking mailbox because she lives in an

apartment, she would not buy one if she lived in a house.

Rachel Perez, a senior sociology major, agreed with West. She

said she does not take specific steps to prevent identity theft,

and she would not consider buying a locking mailbox.

“I always just think, ‘What are the odds of it happening to

me?,'” Perez said. “If it happens, I’ll deal with it.”

Dealing with credit card companies and debt collectors while

trying to recover from identity theft can lead to long-term

problems and mountains of paperwork.

Another potential threat that fills the Lory Student Center

Plaza every fall is credit card solicitors, according to Sgt. Chris

Wolf of CSU Police Department.

“I’m real hesitant to do any of those anymore,” Wolf said. “You

just don’t know where the information is going.”

Wolf said that to protect against identity theft, students

should avoid solicitors, particularly those trying to solicit in

the residence halls, which is illegal. Also, students should keep

their social security number private, shred all documents

containing personal information and not respond to e-mails

requesting personal information.

“All of the (e-mails) that I have seen have been fraudulent,”

Wolf said.

Wolf continued that it is also a good idea to have your credit

history checked out once a year to ensure that no identity theft

has occurred.

While it can be hard to track identity thieves, Wolf said it is

important to still always report this crime if you have been a

victim.

For more information on preventing identity theft, check out

www.ago.state.co.us/idtheft/what.htm.

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