Identity theft (Family Safety)

Family safety

Identity theft is a crime where criminals steal your confidential, personal information and use it to commit fraud at your expense. Often social engineering is used to fool or trick individuals into giving up their personal information which is used by the criminal to commit identity theft.


Identity theft is a crime (fraud) where criminals steal your confidential, personal information and use that information to:

  • transfer money out of your bank account
  • open new credit accounts in your name for their use
  • utilize your accounts on social media to spread malicious software
  • steal personal information from your friends and coworkers
  • sell your information on the black market to other criminals

Personal information

Some examples of very sensitive or confidential personal information that you should never share online, never reveal to phone callers or respond to emails with, and ensure stays confidential:

  • Account or login names and passwords
  • Bank account or payment card information, such as credit cards, debit cards, checking or savings account numbers
  • National identification numbers, such as Social Security Numbers (SSN) in the United States

Also sensitive:

  • Birth date including birth year
  • Mother's maiden name, often used by banks or credit card companies for security reasons
  • Physical address, can be used to perpetuate some kinds of fraud or steal mail
  • Church membership record number (MRN), printed on temple recommends and on Individual Ordinance Summaries

Tips & Suggestions

  • Never post confidential, personal information on social media or other public places on the Internet.
  • Be aware of what social engineering is, and how to avoid being fooled by it. In short, never divulge sensitive information when someone calls or emails you requesting it, regardless of the reason and how urgent it sounds.
  • Don't click on email links to web sites, then type in any of the personal information listed above, including a user account name and password.
  • Always type in the web page address or URL into your browser to conduct any sensitive activities such as interacting with online banking, or using payment services such as PayPal.
  • If someone calls claiming to have a legitimate need for confidential, personal information, hang up and call back at a known good number such as the phone number on the back of your bank card, not one someone gives you from a phone call or from an email.
  • Change your passwords every few months on accounts with banks and social media. Make sure to always use a secure password. Don't use the same passwords on different sites, and especially don't use the same passwords on your financial sites as on other sites.
  • An Internet-connected computer should have, at the very least, a firewall, an anti-virus application, and an anti-spyware application to protect against computer attacks and malicious software. These tools should be configured to update themselves from their publisher on a regular basis, and every so often, a full scan should be performed. Performing these scans will keep your computer running smoothly and will reduce the risk of having your personal information exposed.
  • Shred or burn documents containing personally identifiable information on them, rather than just throwing them in the trash.
  • If you suspect that your identity has been stolen, contact your bank, the police, and call the credit companies to put a credit security freeze on your accounts.

Church information

  • Dallin H. Oaks- "Other criminals live by stealing. And not all stealing is at gunpoint or by dark of night. Some theft is by deception, where the thief manipulates the confidence of his victim. The white-collar cousin of stealing is fraud, which gets its gain by lying about an essential fact in a transaction."[1]
  • Topical Guide: Fraud

Additional resources

Article references

  1. Dallin H. Oaks, “Brother’s Keeper”, [1], Ensign, Nov 1986

External links

This page was last modified on 27 September 2011, at 07:12.

Note: Content found in this wiki may not always reflect official Church information.