About two dozen area residents were treated recently to an educational seminar titled "Preventing and Understanding Identity Theft" at LCCC courtesy of Longhi Financial of Hometown.
This seminar was a third in a series of educational seminars offered at no charge to area residents.
Someone's identity is stolen every three seconds in the United States. Thieves are making billions buying and selling identities, and most consumers have no idea their information is out there, up for sale.
"It is important to educate the community concerning safe and smart financial decisions," said Juliann Longhi, certified financial planner with Longhi Financial.
"Simply put, identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission," said Stanley Warner III, CPA, MBA, Longhi Financial.
It is a serious crime that disrupts personal finances, credit history, and reputation. It usually takes time, money and patience to resolve.
Identity thieves might go through trash cans and dumpsters, stealing bills and documents that have sensitive information. Some thieves work for businesses, medical offices or government agencies, and steal personal information on the job. Many thieves will misuse the name of a legitimate business, and call or send emails that trick you into revealing personal information. Some will even pretend to offer a job, a loan, or an apartment,and ask you to send personal information to qualify. Among the most common types of related thefts are simply stealing your wallet, purse, backpack, or mail and removing your credit cards, driver's license, passport, health insurance card, and other other items that show personal information.
The speakers pointed out important tips to prevent or detect identity theft. Some of which consist of reading your credit reports, bank, credit card and account statements, shred all documents that show personal or financial information before throwing them out, don't respond to email, text and phone messages that ask for personal information, create computer passwords that mix letters, numbers and special charac