Imagine if you will, you were in your home going about your normal everyday activities. The phone rings, it is a local department store's accounting department. The lady on the phone informs you that you owe them a little over $5000.00 that you have charged to your store credit card. You tell her you do not have an account with her store, that she must have made a mistake. She asks you for your social security number to verify the account. You tell her and she informs you that is the social security number on the account. You listen as she tells you all the things purchased on this account. Then she informs you the account is extremely past due and if you do not take care of it immediately it will be turned in to a collection agency and will affect you credit for many years. You keep trying to make her understand that you did not open the account and there must be some kind of mistake. The longer you listen the more you cannot believe what you are hearing. You hang up the phone and sit there in a daze, there must be a mistake. .
A few days later, you receive another call from a different store saying the same thing. You do some checking and find out that someone has stolen your social security number, opened accounts all around town, and now the creditors are coming after you. Not a pretty picture is it. This happens more than anyone realizes. All a person needs is your name and your social security number and they then have access to just about all of your personal records and can do just about anything they want. Identity theft is a very real crime and it is also one that hits very close to home.
How can you prevent identity theft? There are several things you can do to make it harder for someone to make you a victim of identity theft. However, if a criminal really wants your information they will keep trying until they get what they want. One of the things you can do to protect yourself is to buy a shredder and destroy all personal papers instead of just throwing them away.