News Details

County Program Protects Seniors from Identity Theft

WOODBURY, NJ - Gloucester County Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney and Freeholder Bill Krebs announced today that the Gloucester County Library System will host a special program delivered by the Gloucester County Office of Consumer Protection entitled Senior Citizens and Identity Theft: How to Protect Yourself.

Freeholder Director Steve Sweeney encourages seniors to take this opportunity to learn how to protect themselves from this serious crime. "Seniors have worked hard all their lives and been careful with their money. Identity theft can ruin a person's good name and credit very quickly and it can take a lot of time and money to set it right again. That's why a program like this is so important," the Freeholder Director said.

Identify theft is defined as a person stealing another person's personal information such as a social security number, date of birth, and mother's maiden name, and then using the information to take out loans, open credit cards, or take over existing accounts. Thieves use other people's credit to go on spending sprees. Often times, the victims are not aware that their identity is stolen until unusual bills arrive or their own credit applications are denied.

In a 2003 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, nearly 10 million people held that they were victims of some form of identity theft, costing nearly $48 billion in losses to businesses, $5 billion in losses to victims, and 300 million hours of the victims' time.

"If you discover that you are a victim of identity theft, you should contact the authorities and your financial institutions immediately. In the meantime, there are many things you can do to protect yourself such as guarding your social security number and shredding documents with personal information on them before throwing them in the trash," said Bill Krebs, Freeholder Liaison to the Gloucester County Library System and the Office of Consumer Protection.

To learn more, the Senior Citizens and Identity Theft: How to Protect Yourself program will be held on Wednesday, June 1st at 10 AM at the Greenwich Township branch located at 411 Swedesboro Road in Gibbstown. Advance registration is appreciated but not required. For more information or to register, please call the Greenwich branch library at 856-423-0684.