GREEN BAY, Wis.- It's a silent crime that can target anyone, identity theft. Today is known as Secure Your Identity Day and businesses are warning people to take the right steps to protect themselves in light of recent major security breaches at big name-retailers.
The Federal Trade Commission says about 11 million people were victims of identity theft between 2006 and 2008 and that number keeps climbing. With such a large group of people being impacted, financial experts are trying to make sure you're not one of them.
Betty Geiger knows first hand what it's like to have her identity stolen.
"They just about emptied out our checking account," said Geiger of Green Bay.
Unfortunately this happens too often.
"Fifty-six percent of identity theft victims have traced back their theft to a personal document that was taken from their own personal items," said Secure Retirement Solutions financial planner, Kevin Klug.
Financial planners say shredding is vital to making sure your identity stays your own. Documents that should be shredded include anything that has your name, birth date, account, pin and social security numbers and all signatures. However, it's required to do more than just cover a paper trail.
"Double checking your statements, making sure your statements are correct at the end of the month," said Klug.
According to Klug, checking statements is the best way to be safe from debit card fraud, but you should also take precautions online.
"It really goes down to making sure that you're aware of the sites you're going to," said Klug.
When shopping or banking on the web, make sure sites look accurate. Most banking sites require the user answer security questions. Also change passwords on a regular basis and make sure your virus protection is up to date.
It's recommended to use caution for banking apps as well. Those don't typically have virus protection like your computer would, which makes it easier for someone to steal your information.