Big Bear, Ca March 28, 2011 8:00 am – Your identity can be taken as easily as throwing out the trash.  In 2007, a mountain resident had her identity stolen and at least 10 different charge accounts opened in her name.  Recently, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s detectives were able to follow the trail of items purchased with these accounts and raided a residence in Los Angeles.  They found almost 1,000 individuals’ names, birth dates, and social security numbers, along with counterfeit driver’s licenses, credit cards, and check books using these names.  It is suspected that the thieves routinely went through trash from banks, car dealerships and other businesses, gathering personal information.  Businesses can protect their customers by implementing a security program, evaluating information collected, and ensuring that sensitive information is protected.  Consumers can minimize their risks by being careful with whom they share information.   The San Bernardino County Sheriff recommends the following links with additional about protecting yourself and your customers against identity theft:
Federal Trade Commission: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft
FDIC: Identity Theft & Fraud

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