Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How to prevent identity theft

David over at HowCast.com recently brought a whole batch of fabulous "How To" videos to my attention, from the serious ("How to Survive a Recession" and "How to Sell Your House") to the downright silly ("How to Evade Your Taxes" and "How to Get Money Out of Your Parents").

One of my favorite "How To" videos is "How to Prevent Identity Theft:"





The video is a little cheesy, but it's main character is a pizza slice, so what do you expect? (Bad pun, but I couldn't help myself). To prevent identity theft, they say to:
  • Watch your wallet
  • Be careful with mail
  • Beware of phishing
  • Beware of skimming
  • Get a free credit report
  • Never leave documents around
  • Destroy bills and documents
I know all you savvy savers out there are also savvy in keeping your identity theft-free, but this fund-suckling annoyance can happen to anyone with even the slightest unrealized misstep. Even I thought my identity was foolproof until I found out two years ago that $600 had been withdrawn out of my bank account from ATMs being simultaneously used in Cuba, Chicago and Mexico. Luckily my bank reimbursed me for the withdrawals, but for a few nights after that I slept in fear that members of some South American drug cartel would break into my apartment to steal the rest of my identity. (Kidding, kidding!). Love also fell prey to identity looters when his wallet, and thus his identity, was stolen from a Nordstrom's fitting room a few years ago. Just reminding him of this harrowing episode conjures up quite the amusing tortured look on his face that I'm sure accompanied each call he made to the credit bureau to fix the problem.

Have any of you had your identities stolen? Was the experience something you can laugh about now (like moi), or does the thought of it still stress you out (like Love)?

6 comments:

Matt said...

Haha, that is pretty good. My only criticism with videos like this is that they don't tell you where they get the information--it would help to show the credentials, or use an actual expert. Two sites that use credible experts in their how to videos are ExpertVillage.com and MonkeySee.com. ExpertVillage has close to 100K videos (according to their site), and both are good resources.

Julianna Pullette said...

I have never had my identity stolen (knock on wood) but in my classes we were shown how easy it is. If you ever use a WiFi network, like at school or Starbucks, and log into your email or bank stuff, someone else can watch, creepy.

Crystal said...

Matt: Thanks for the heads up on those video sites!

Julianna: Yes, it's uber-creepy to know your personal info is so vulnerable!

Budget Mama said...

I have to get a shredder. That is the one thing, I don't have. I use to buy them and they always broke.

Crystal said...

Budget Mama: Me too, I usually spend countless minutes tearing each document into tiny scraps of paper. :P That or I throw them in the barbecue and have a mini bonfire haha.

Get Out of Debt Guy said...

Finding the video was genius. Cool vid to make the point. Nice one.

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