Scrutinize bills and account statements for unautho- rized transactions.

Scrutinize bills and account statements for unautho- rized transactions.

Request information about security procedures at doc- tors’ offices, businesses, educational institutions, and workplaces, such as who has access to databases, whether records are kept in a safe location, and how old files are disposed of.

Don’t carry a Social Security card in a wallet or write that number on a check. If it is requested in a business transaction, ask: “Why is it needed? How will it be used? What law requires that it be divulged? What measures are taken to protect this number? What will happen if it isn’t provided?” See if a substitute number can be used on a state driver’s license or for a health insurance policy.

Go to the trouble of opting out of telephone solicita- tions, direct mail lists, and preapproved credit card offers.

If scrupulously abiding by this lengthy list of “dos” and “don’ts” is not sufficiently reassuring, cautious persons intent on avoiding trouble can purchase identity theft insurance package plans.

If state law permits it, a cautious person can place a “freeze” on his or her credit files with each of the three major agencies, so that third parties cannot access the account or open a new one without permission to temporarily lift it.

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to a sudden end on Christmas Eve. As the couple sits in their car at a traffic light on a congested street, a man walks up and shoots each robber in the head several times. Rival mob factions both claim credit for arranging the rubout until the police finally arrest one of their gangsters a dozen years later. (Rashbaum, 2005)

Two young women who seem to be intoxicated give a $50 bill to a cashier at a fast food joint. When the cashier questions its authenticity, one of the women leaps over the counter and the other goes around it. The two women curse and cuff the cashier. He grabs a metal rod and savagely beats them. Later, it is dis- covered that he is out on parole for killing a classmate 10 years earlier, and that one of the women may

Concerned customers must pay a fee for this transaction, but the expense is waived for victims of identity theft. Those who have their ID stolen can also impose a “fraud alert” that compels potential creditors to notify victims about any applications for new credit cards or loans in their name.

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