Friday, September 18, 2020

Stop Identity Theft Forum

Carrie Kerskie presented to a full and attentive room. PHOTOS BY SAMANTHA HUSTED

Carrie Kerskie presented to a full and attentive room. PHOTOS BY SAMANTHA HUSTED

By Samantha Husted

In front of a full room at the Marco Island Police Department on November 18, identity theft expert Carrie Kerskie, PI presented the “Stop Identity Theft Forum.” Kerskie is also the director of the Identity Fraud Institute at Hodges University, as well as the president of the Kerskie Group, Inc.

Police Chief Al Schettino introduced Kerskie. “Identity theft is really an epidemic and it’s affecting a lot of people all over the world,” said Schettino. “Everywhere we go we’re exposed to that possibility.”

While Kerskie says there is no one absolute way to prevent identity theft, there are things that people can do, or avoid doing, in order to stay on top of their credit and identity information. Much of Kerskie’s career has been spent helping victims of identity theft. Through her presentations, as well as with her book, “Your Public Identity: Because Nothing Is Private Anymore,” she believes she can help educate people on the issue at hand.

Police Chief Al Schettino introduced Kerskie, reinforcing the importance of the topic. “It’s something that we feel really strongly about,” said Schettino. “Identity theft is really an epidemic and it’s affecting a lot of people all over

Police Chief Al Schettino introducing speaker Carrie Kerskie.

Police Chief Al Schettino introducing speaker Carrie Kerskie.

the world. Everywhere we go we’re exposed to that possibility.”

While the topic of identity theft may seem intimidating, throughout the presentation Kerskie gave examples of the little things that people can do in order to protect themselves. For instance, she says to change the settings on your phone so that your Wi-Fi does not automatically connect to the networks around you. Not all Wi-Fi networks are secure and this is an easy way to access a person’s information. She also says that if you’re at a coffee shop or a place with free Wi-Fi, never use the Wi-Fi to do things that require sensitive information.

Other things you can do include never giving personal information over the phone unless you initiate the call, and shred all receipts, credit card offers, bank statements and returned checks before throwing it away.

Most importantly, Kerskie says you must be aware of your information, and credit history, and check up on it from time to time. If you would like more information on identity theft you can visit her website at carriekerskie.com.

And remember, though the crimes are commonly committed elsewhere, the procedure for reporting the fraud is to first notify your local police department.

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