ORLANDO, Fla. — Identity theft continues to be a problem facing millions of Americans every year.
This week is Identity Theft Awareness Week and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning Floridians to be careful when it comes to protecting their identity.
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Identity theft occurs when someone uses or attempts to use, the personally identifiable information of another person to commit fraud.
Identity theft affects one in every 20 Americans each year, accounting for more than $5.8 billion in losses in 2021.
“From children to seniors, no one is immune from identity theft, and that is why it is vital for everyone to take proactive steps to help protect their sensitive information,” Moody said. “In recognition of Identity Theft Awareness Week, I am issuing tips and providing resources for Floridians to help them strengthen their online security to better protect personal data and hopefully avoid identity thieves.”
Read: National Data Privacy Week: Florida AG Moody offers tips to protect against identity theft
Here are some tips to avoid identity theft:
· Check account statements regularly.
· Consider placing a credit freeze with each of the three major credit-reporting bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - so new accounts cannot be opened in your name.
· Obtain free credit reports from each national credit agency once a year.
· Remember, the Internal Revenue Service, and most other government agencies, will never initiate contact via email, text message or social media.
· Use an antivirus program and a firewall, especially when not on an encrypted site or secure connection.
· Refrain from sending or providing personal information to solicitors.
· Avoid public Wi-Fi when accessing personal data.
· Enable multifactor authentication to be checked after a secure, never-reused password is entered.
· Ask questions before providing personal data to anyone, even to a trusted party.
· Shred or safely burn documents containing personal information.
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For more information on how to avoid identity thieves, or what to do if you or someone you know is already a victim of identity theft, check out Attorney General Moody’s Scams at a Glance: Identity Theft.
Anyone who encounters identity theft should report it to the FTC at IdentityTheft.gov or by calling 1(877) 438-4338.
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