UT Austin launches new website for identity theft protection

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The UT Center for Identity at The University of Texas unveiled IDWise Tuesday, a free, online resource that helps businesses, families and even young kids keep their personal information secure.

IDWise is a non-profit resource center funded by the Texas Legislature and is the first online resource dedicated solely to identity management protection.

Dr Suzanne Barber, director of the Center for Identity, says the most important piece of information people should be safe-guarding is their social security number.

“Social Security reigns,” Barber said. “If someone gets a hold of that, they have access to your credit cards, mortgage, and lots of your other personal information. Social security numbers are involved in about 52 percent of identity thefts and fraud. Of the threats that we’ve looked at, the criminals have probably reaped about $6 billion over the last 10 years just by social security numbers.”

By bringing together academic researchers, faculty members, and government and industry leaders, IDWise aims to be the number one resource in educating consumers and businesses on how to protect themselves and avoid millions of dollars in lost income, fraudulent costs and reputation damage.

Congressman John Carter was the keynote speaker at the launch. His best advice was to consistently monitor all your credit activity.

“They won’t necessarily have a big item on your bill, it will most likely be a small ticket item on your bill that you don’t notice. But they’ll take it every bill for as long as you know. So if they steal a million credit card numbers, and they get a dollar a week from every credit card, they’re making a million bucks a week,” said Carter.

To check out IDWise’s website click here. 

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