How Your Name Could Get You Scammed

Will-Call Tickets

I love Broadway and for me there’s nothing like being in the stadium to root on my favorite teams—especially when they host my least favorite teams. One thing I try to avoid is picking up tickets at the venue. While many sports arenas are now more careful, requiring ID before handing over tickets, I can’t recall the last time I picked up tickets at a theater and was asked for identification. Generally, I give my name, and I get my tickets.

A clever scalper knows you bought tickets for Aladdin on Broadway because you tweeted about it. In possession of your name, he or she can grab those tickets and sell them before you arrive.

What to do: Try to avoid will-call tickets by making arrangements to retrieve them in advance or have them delivered digitally or via FedEx/UPS (and make sure they’re delivered to a secure location, if not directly into your hands).

Feeling bullied by the specter of such crimes? Don’t throw your hands in the air like you just don’t care, and never assume that some cure-all service is just a mouse click away. The solution to survive this new reality: Change your behavior.

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Identity theft is the third certainty in life, and as such requires vigilance. The solution comes in the form of three M’s: Minimize your exposure, monitor for signs of trouble and manage the damage when the inevitable occurs.

Minimizing your exposure comes down to understanding how a thief looks at your information, what that person needs to exploit you, and then making it as hard as possible for them to scam you. Don’t overshare information online, on the phone or in your face-to-face interactions.

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Monitor your identity in public-facing documents, financial and social networking accounts as well as memberships. Check your credit report as often as you can, use sites like Credit.com to get a free look at your credit scores, and check your bank account and your credit card activity—weekly, if not daily. The more often you do it, the better. Enroll in programs offered by banks, credit unions and credit card companies that notify you of activity in your accounts. Seriously consider buying more sophisticated credit and fraud monitoring programs that give you frequent access to your credit profile.

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Manage the damage when you get got. Check with your insurance agent, bank or credit union representative, or the HR department at work to see if you are already enrolled in an identity theft resolution (identity management) program as a perk or at little cost. If you are, take advantage of it. And if you get got, make sure you get on the solution right away, because every moment counts.

In the new landscape of data breaches and ultra-sophisticated criminals, there really is no way to escape all the scams out there. The best thing you can do is keep abreast of the latest trends, be careful, use your head and know how to recognize the telltale signs that you’ve been had.

Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.

Adam Levin is chairman and co-founder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.

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