How They Steal Your Money

It is a foregone conclusion that with all of the electronic means in existence to shop, pay bills, or even file your taxes that your information is going to get compromised and your money will be stolen.  How does this happen and what can you do about it?

We are only going to talk about here ways your money can be stolen;

  1. People file false tax returns
  2. People use your credit card numbers
  3. Right on the streets.

The filing of a false tax return is a lot simpler than you would think.  We no longer have to file the paper W-2 or 1099 that we receive from an employer.  Electronically, it is very easy to make up this information and to electronically file a return.  And no one needs to go through your real or electronic trash to find this information.  Your payroll company, doctor’s office, bank, and any employer’s Human Resources office has all they need to file a false return and to get a refund based on the information they file.  For your federal taxes you need to immediately file a Form 14039.  Complete the form online, print it and mail or fax to the appropriate office using the options listed on page 2 of the form. Include photocopies of at least one of the documents listed on the form to verify your identity.

Credit cards are another source of irritation for thieves to steal from you.  The new chip cards make it harder but not impossible.  The incentive for using the chip card for a merchant is that they are on the hook now for fraudulent charges made by customers if they do not have and use a chip card reader.  For online sales the chip cannot be used.  And there are now readers that can be installed in gas station pumps, and hand held readers that will read your card information directly from you wallet or purse.  Your options are limited for protecting yourself.  Your first line of defense is to make sure you now have only chip capable cards in your possession.  Spread all of your old cards or melt them down in a fireplace.  Then, check your statements online every few days.  As much as this is a pain if you catch fraud early it is far easier for the credit card issuer to track down the fraud (and maybe the thief) the earlier you catch a fraudulent charge.

Theft from you personally is never a good thing.  I have seen ladies sling their purses over the backs of their chairs in restaurants and leave them open.  That is all the opportunity a thief needs to pick out whatever they want.  Purses have always been attractive for thieves as they usually contain a large amount of information, credit cards, and sometimes cash in one handy easy to steal item.  The old scenario of the gun to the head and give me all of your money is still out there.  The more common one today is driving into a gas station, and lifting the purse out of the car or van that is being refueled by the driver.  There are now roving gangs that will distract a person at a gas station, rest area, or parking garage so that one person can sneak over to the unoccupied side of a vehicle and steal anything they can see through the window.  Your defense against this is more difficult.  Lock purses in trunks, even when you are driving.  These gangs will smash in your passenger window and lift the purse right out of the car at an intersection.  Get your head out of your cell phone.  Nothing in a cell phone will protect you from anyone intent on robbing you or worse.  Lock your doors as soon as you enter your car.  Also, put your keys into the ignition and drive off.  You can check your Facebook posts and messages in a safer place.  Finally, loop the straps of your purse around your chair, shopping cart, or seat belt so as to make it more difficult for someone to do a snatch and grab of your items.

Protection of your money has always been your responsibility.  Protect yourself and your family by using these common sense ideas.  Remember, nothing is more precious than your life, so think twice before you engage a thief who has decided you are easy prey.

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