Saturday, 3 November 2012

"Identity Thief": Funny Movie, Terrible Reality (Guest Post)

From director Seth Gordon, who brought us "Horrible Bosses," comes "Identity Thief," an action-packed comedy that is frightening at the same time because it could happen to you.

In this recently released movie, Jason Bateman plays businessman Sandy Bigelow Patterson, who lives in Denver, Colo. Sandy's life is pretty hum-drum and mediocre until Diana, a con-artist in Miami, steals his identity and creates an ID, gets credit cards, goes on shopping sprees, and is then arrested under Sandy's name and doesn't show up for the court date. In one week, Patterson's life is turned upside down, and he is forced to go to Florida to find the person who sullied his name. He finds Diana, who is posing as him and hilarity ensues.

The movie, written by Jerry Eeten and Craig Mazin, offers a funny lighthearted prospective on the awful consequences of being a victim of identity theft. Though many unfortunate events happen in this movie, such as car crashes and fist fights, one that hits home is how vulnerable everyone is to identity theft. Taking preventative steps to safeguard you and your family from identity theft is the correct action to take.
Here are a few suggestions we think are good steps in the right direction:

Find an Effective Protection Company

There are many companies out there that monitor your accounts and alert you when your social-security number or bank account are in jeopardy. If this situation actually happened to Jason Bateman, he would have the option to use a protection service, such as Lifelock, which would monitor his accounts around the clock for a reasonable monthly expense. For the amount of money and time you would save from successfully blocking a threat, theft protection is definitely worth it.

Be Stingy

The U.S. Department of Justice advises citizens to be stingy with the information voluntarily given. Only give out sensitive information to sites with a security key, which makes stealing information difficult. Ask the company to send you a brochure or more information before giving them valuable information. If they refuse, you don't need their business.

Check Your Bank Accounts

Make sure your monthly statements are mailed to you and only you, unless you have authorized someone else to keep track of your accounts. If your records are sent out to another location without consent, have your bank discontinue that activity immediately.

Ask For a Credit Report Regularly

Every few months, it is a good idea to check your credit, even with no history of identity theft in your past. A check every six months is healthy, but once a month might be pressing it and will eat up time and finances.

Maintain Organized Records

Keep track of your bank statements, bills, credit report and different forms of ID and make it a regular practice. This simple measure will do so much to help. A little prevention can go a long way, about as long as you would have to travel to find the criminal who stole your identity, like Jason Bateman's character.

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