Identity Theft For Dummies


What should I shred? How do I read my credit report? Is it safe to shop online? Find out!

Identity theft costs billions of dollars each year to people just like you. This book shows you how to protect your personal information, reveals risks you may not have thought about, helps you learn whether you've already been victimized, and explains the steps you need to take to reclaim your good name and your good credit.

  • Shred before you shed — why you should avoid placing anything in your garbage that contains personal information

  • Be vigilant — learn how to regularly monitor your bank accounts and credit card statements

  • Am I hit? — what to watch for so you can tell as soon as possible whether your identity has been stolen

  • Stick with the coffee — why a cybercafé may be a bad place to shop online or check your bank balance

  • Compare services — assess different companies that offer identity theft protection

  • Oops, they got me — know what to do first if your identity is stolen and what information you need to have

  • Cyber-wary — identify the protection you already have, whether it's adequate, and how to secure information on your computer

  • The walls have ears — learn to stay safe in public places

Open the book and find:

  • How to understand your credit report

  • Tips on making a security plan

  • How and when to complete a fraud affidavit

  • Reasons for placing fraud alerts on your credit report

  • Information you need to open or close accounts

  • Checklists and phone numbers for reporting losses

  • Sensible steps to keep you safe

  • What NOT to carry

Learn to:

  • Recognize and avoid common scams

  • Protect your personal information offline and online

  • Interpret and monitor your credit report

  • Restore your good name if you are victimized

Michael J. Arata Jr. has more than 20 years of experience in security, crisis management, business continuity, and international investigations. He has developed and managed successful security programs for large organizations and performed numerous credit card fraud and embezzlement investigations.


Part I: Getting the Scoop on Identity Theft.

Chapter 1: Who’s Stealing What . . . and What You Can Do about It.

Chapter 2: Mike’s Anti–Identity Theft Crash Course.

Part II: Determining Whether You’re a Victim.

Chapter 3: Smelling a Rat: Recognizing Common Signs of Identity Theft.

Chapter 4: Homing In on Financial Statements.

Chapter 5: Interpreting Your Credit Report.

Part III: Being Smart with Your Sensitive Information.

Chapter 6: Keeping Tabs on Your Personal and Business Information.

Chapter 7: Watching What You Set on the Curb.

Chapter 8: Practicing Discretion in Public Places.

Part IV: Arming Yourself against Potential Identity Theft.

Chapter 9: Avoiding Loss of Your Identity: Online Services That Can Help.

Chapter 10: Becoming Familiar with Identity Thieves’ Scams and Methods.

Part V: Safeguarding Electronic Information.

Chapter 11: Staying Safe from Online Threats.

Chapter 12: Dispensing Security with Windows XP, Vista, and 7.

Part VI: Taking Back Your Good Name.

Chapter 13: Starting the Process of Reclaiming Your Identity.

Chapter 14: Closing Compromised Accounts.

Chapter 15: Opening New Accounts.

Part VII: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 16: Ten (Or So) Tips to Make Reclaiming Your Identity Go More Smoothly.

Chapter 17: Ten Handy Resources.

Chapter 18: Ten Security Tools You Shouldn’t Be Without.

Chapter 19: Ten (Plus One) Common Scams and How to Avoid Them.