My ID and computer were stolen out of my car. How can I prevent identity theft?
You can’t.If someone is planning on using your identity for theft, there is nothing that you can do to prevent it.You can, however, mitigate it by taking several steps:File a police report - In the report, detail all of the items which were taken, no matter how insignificant that you think that they are.Contact all of your credit issuers and your bank and have your cards cancelled - The sooner that you do this, the better. Credit card companies legally can only hold you responsible for the first $50 in charges (almost all of them waive the charges) and your bank has to replace any fraudulent withdrawals made from your account as long as you report the theft within 60 days.Place a fraud alert on your credit reports - This will be a huge pain in the ass for as long as you have it on them, but it will prevent people from easily receiving credit using your identity.Contact the local library if you have a card and tell them that you have lost your card - Many people forget this and it’s a bad idea to do so because A) A crook can check numerous new and expensive books and videos on your account and sell them. B) The crook can have the library give them a copy of the form that you completed to obtain your card. That document has personal information on it which may not have been in your wallet.Check your driving record with your state licensing agency - The crook may attempt to pass himself off as you during traffic stops and that could lead to your being fined or arrested for outstanding traffic violations. Also, you might wish to check to see if any titles were issued to you for any vehicles that you may own or not own as crooks can use your ID to get a new title for your vehicle and either get a loan against it or steal it later and then sell it.Contact your medical insurer - A crook can use your medical insurance card to charge healthcare and dental work and to obtain prescription medicines (especially painkillers) to sell.Check your cell provider and see if additional phones or mobile devices have been issued in your name - A crook could obtain numerous new phones on your account and then sell them at a profit. Or use them until they are caught.Check your state’s corporation bureau/Secretary of State - A crook (or whoever he sells your identity papers to) could start a business using your information. This could put you tens of thousands of dollars in debt (or more) and result in numerous agencies looking for you (actually, the crook pretending to be you) for a wide variety charges.Keep a copy of your police report with you at all times - While the police have grown used to ID fraud, some may still detain or arrest you if you are pulled over. Having a copy of the report will make things far less difficult if you are stopped or detained.Expect the unexpected - There many ways that your ID can be misused by a skilled ID thief. From buying aircraft and boats on your credit, to purchasing firearms, to obtaining Internet service in your name and then using it for fraud or for downloading child pornography, if your identity is indeed compromised, you should ready for whatever might happen.Good Luck.
Identity theft: How dangerous is it to toss out old catalogs and other junk mail without obliterating my name and address from them?
It's extremely dangerous for anyone to know your name and address as nothing would prevent such a person from knocking on your door and then saying your name, combined with some form of greeting, when you opened the door. Even if you wisely choose never to open your door, such a person could say your name while you were on the other side of that door, in a foyer perhaps, which you would be forced to hear. This person could just say your name outloud anywhere, in a bar or a Starbucks, and act like he or she knew you, and if anyone says otherwise, respond, "well then how do I know his home address?"
How easy is it to steal identity?
It depends on the identity, how long it was in use, when, what for, etc. In the easiest and perhaps the most useful way (in the united states), it only takes one friend to help you get a new social security number and go from there. Other than that, just a few hours in a library followed by a few minutes in city hall, then you're a huge part of the way done. A photo id is simple after that bit of stuff.
What can I do to charge my wife with identity theft, and how can I find out what she's been doing?
Oh Geez, Paul. I’m assuming you don’t talk to your wife much, as this seems to be a pressing and very private, urgent matter to discuss with her, and not discuss with all of e-us (up to 7 billion online users and me reading this)! What has happened that makes you believe your wife has done this? Why don’t you ask her about this? If you can’t trust her, then perhaps hire a private investigator to review her whereabouts, but in even advising that, I find that to be a pathetic suggestion for you, in that if you’re married, then you need to talk to her - at once! And if you can’t do that, then why the heck are you married? I wish you luck, Paul. Let us know what happens!