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Huntsville Real Estate: Protecting Against Identity Theft

By: Huntsville Real Estate Expert Mike Manosky On October 17, 2008

Private investigator Al Schweitzer was in Huntsville last week to talk with the Madison County Real Estate Investors Association concerning identity theft.

identity theftAl has been featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Nightline” and “20/20,” and has worked behind-the-scenes as an investigator for major news agencies on such stories as Iran-Contra, the Jon Bonet Ramsey murder and the Timothy McVeigh trial.

He has also been an expert witness for Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, the Treasury Department and other government agencies.

 

With his background Al is a wealth of information on identity theft. Here is what he had to say, while in Huntsville, about safe guarding your private information:

Often, scam artists will already have some of their prey’s info, which can throw a victim off guard, Schweitzer said. If you get a call from someone saying they are with your bank or a credit card company, don’t ask for a number to call them back.

“I tell them I’m going to hang up and call information,” Schweitzer said, “even if they say, ‘You won’t be able to find me.’

“You need to be aware of your own activities,” he said. “Check your credit report every three to four months.”

He noted that consumers can get a free copy of their report once a year at annualcreditreport.com.

If you get credit cards in the mail that you didn’t apply for, chances are you’re a victim of ID theft, Schweitzer said.

Despite concerns about online scams, the most common methods that identity thieves use to get personal information is stealing from mailboxes, going through the trash and stealing information from applications at auto dealerships, he said. Still, consumers should be on guard for phishing scams, particularly with all the bank mergers taking place.

“This is a fabulous time to be a hacker,” he said. “Any time you have confusion, hackers can exploit that.”

Learn about Huntsville real estate at MoveToHuntsville.com.

 

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