By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
With new technology constantly being developed, it also becoming increasingly easy to steal identities and money.
Wednesday, Chuck Clanahan, a Protective Security Advisor with the Kansas District of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was at the Liberal Senior Center to talk to locals about some of the things criminals do to get information as well as money.
Clanahan said in his position, he spends much time, 60 to 70 percent in fact, doing assessments and helping people break the mindset of “It’ll never happen.”
He said he also deals with many active shooter drills in the state, which he said are most requested from churches and hospitals.
Clanahan said the best way to help prevent identity theft is by shredding documents. He said one criminals get information is by tricking a person into revealing it.
This is done most often through scams, and Clanahan said with tax season in full swing, criminals will likewise be looking for an easy victim.
Scams, the DHS advisor said, often start with phishing, when criminals find out if a person is gullible enough to fall for a scam. Other scams that work are verification requests, when a criminal calls to verify information on a person, and phone scams such as telemarketing scams.
Clanahan said sure signs of a telemarketing scam is when the caller asks for money first and when they want information such as bank account numbers. They do this, he said, to get a person’s permission to basically steal both identity and money.
One way to prevent receiving such calls is to go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website, www.ftc.gov, and put your number on the Do Not Call registry.
Phone fraud can likewise be reported to the FTC by going to ftc.gov/phone fraud.
Other ways Clanahan said people can become victims is through inflated refund claims or through fake charities.
He added some criminals actually get hold of credit card numbers or Social Security numbers for a price of as much as $3 per number to share with other criminals.
Clanahan said ATM machines are a good place for a person to get information with a skimmer. He said potential criminals will hold on to the information for at least two to three months before using it because this is how long security cameras recorded, meaning it would take that long for the criminal’s identity to disappear from the camera.
Finally, Clanahan advised everyone to keep an eye on their credit through credit report sites such as annualcreditreport.com.
“Look for charges you didn’t make,” he said. “Nothing’s ever urgent enough you need it right then and there.”
Overall, Clanahan reminded the audience of the adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”