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Editor: Elizabeth A. Bejoian
The MTA Advantage is published three times a year as
a supplement to MTA Today by MTA Benefits, Inc.
The internet has made modern society more connected now than ever. While
this has made some things easier, identity theft has become easier as well.
Millions of Americans have been affected by identity theft.1 In 2017, more
than 140 million hours were spent by identity theft victims trying to resolve
2 Knowing how identity theft occurs could help you better understand
what information you need to help protect yourself.
1. Identity thieves have many ways to get
your private information
DUMPSTER DIVING: Going through
your trash for bank statements, credit
card offers, etc.
ROBBERY: Stealing your personal
documents, such as birth certificates
and Social Security cards.
PHISHING: Sending you unsolicited
e-mails containing software that
searches computers and other devices
for personal and financial data.
PHONE SCAMS: Calling people and
pretending to be from an established
organization in order to persuade
you to give up personal and
DATA DUMPS: Sifting through the private customer data of stores, medical
facilities and financial companies to access credit card and Social Security
numbers, as well as other identifying information.
2. Your online presence could hurt you
Social media sites may leave you vulnerable to identity theft. Hackers could
get your full name, address, birth date and other information and then apply
for credit cards or medical insurance or open a bank account in your name.
How you sign in to your social media accounts, such as logging in on public
unprotected Wi-Fi, can leave you vulnerable to hackers. Always check the web
address and make sure that the name in the address bar matches the name of
the establishment offering the service. Using a VPN to connect to public Wi-Fi
can also help minimize risks.
3. Kids and elders need protection
Criminals have been known to steal
the identities of children because they
haven’t typically accessed their credit
history until they have started taking
steps toward establishing a financial
record, such as applying for school
loans. Elders may need protection,
too. To help protect your loved ones’
identities, request their credit reports
4. Be active in your protection
Stay aware and be protective of your personal information. Destroy personal
documents you no longer need by shredding them before disposal. Make sure
all of your online passwords are unique and hard to crack by using a mix of
symbols and capital letters. Monitor all of your financial accounts weekly and
report any discrepancies immediately.
5. Identity restoration requires effort
Even if you are very careful, criminals might still be able to access your
information and steal your identity. You may not have the time or the resources
to work toward restoring your identity on your own, which is why enrolling in
an identity theft protection service is important. While no one can prevent all
identity theft or monitor all transactions at all businesses, LifeLock is a leader
in comprehensive identity theft protection. You can also use security software,
such as Norton Security, to shield your computer and devices against malware
and viruses and to help protect your personal information.
www.mtabenefits.com to learn how you can save on this service.
1 Based on an online survey of 5,389 U.S. adults conducted for Symantec by The Harris Poll,
2 Based on an online survey of 540 U.S. adults who experienced identity theft in 2017,
conducted for Symantec by The Harris Poll, January 2018.