Protecting Yourself from Fraud and Theft

Identity theft and fraud have been on the rise poising a continual threat to area residents daily.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft continually is ranked the top consumer complaints throughout the United States, and has remained so for over a decade. In fact, the amount of stolen data within the medical field has more than quadrupled. There have been 2.32 million victims of medical identity theft thus far, with over 500,000 cases being reported last year alone. This number represents more data breaches than any other sector, and only continues to rise over time.

With the amount of fraud in the world today, it is extremely important to protect your information, including personal papers or statements with medical or insurance information. There are important steps you can take to ensure your identity is protected. Adam Levin, longtime consumers advocate and identity fraud expert, has touted the three “M’s” of identity theft management: Minimize Risk, Monitor Your Identity, and Manage the Damage.

Here are some helpful tips to do so…
  • Check your bank and credit card statements routinely
  • Properly discard any paper documents with personal information
  • Sign up for free alerts from banks, credit unions, or your credit card company
  • Watch your medical Insurance benefits to make sure they aren’t fraudulently used by others
  • Report any suspicious activity
Attorney General Lisa Madigan created an Identity Theft Hotline for Illinois residents. If you have been the victim of identity theft or believe your personal or financial information may have been compromised, please call the toll free number to report it: 1-866-999-5630.

Shredding paper documents that contain personal information is the best way to ensure identities cannot be stolen or personal information fraudulently used.  Representative Steve Andersson recently hosted a paper shredding event to help area residents discard such papers.  Andersson’s shred event serviced over 260 residents by shredding more than 6,000 pounds of paper.  This was his second annual paper shredding event, and it continues to be a huge success!

With additional questions or concerns on how to best protect your information, feel free to contact Rep. Andersson’s district office at (630) 457-5460.

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