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ID theft

All about how it happens and how you can keep it from happening to you.

It's not too early to begin thinking about Halloween safety

Retail stores have already set up Halloween displays, and are selling costumes and candy – and Halloween is still more than a month away. 

Identity theft is often seen as a sophisticated crime – involving the Internet or some extensive scam. But it can also be as simple as a stolen wallet or break-in. Halloween provides a prime opportunity for thieves to steal your wallet or break into your car or home, using the Halloween festivities as a cover-up. 

It's important to protect yourself from would-be thieves every day, but particularly on Halloween. It's a fun day for kids, but adults use the opportunity to "let loose" as well. When you're out and about on this holiday, be aware of your surroundings, and who's around you. If you host a party, make sure you know who your guests are, and lock up valuables during the party, including purses and wallets. If you're attending a party, lock up your valuables, and leave credit cards at home.

At no other time of the year would we open our doors to complete strangers – but we do it willingly on Halloween. But don't get so caught up in the fun of the night that you forget to be just as cautious when opening your door to people you don't know as you would be any other night. Look out your peep hole or window before opening the door, and don't open your door at an unreasonable hour. Most kids are done trick or treating between 7 and 8 p.m., so it would be a good idea to turn your porch light off after then. Even if your doorbell rings, don't answer it any more. 

If you won't be home that evening, remember that thieves use the holiday to check out who's home and who's not by posing as trick-or-treaters. Don't leave a note on your door and a bowl of candy – this is a dead giveaway that you're not home. If you won't be home, ask a friend to man the candy bowl for you, or ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house. You may even wish to call your local police and ask them to drive by and check your home. 

Halloween should be a little bit scary – not downright terrifying. By taking these precautions, you'll make sure it stays that way.

Published Sep 14 2011, 11:51 AM by IdentityTheft
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