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Chamber to host ID theft prevention seminar July 8-9
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Officials of the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce will hold an Identity Theft Prevention Seminar on July 8 and 9. The course is open to Chamber members and the general public, Scott Hinson, chairman of the Chamber’s Entrepreneur Friendly Task Force, announced.

“Threats to businesses and consumers are rampant today and this is something we need to be aware of,” Hinson said. “We think identity theft prevention is a very timely topic and a valuable service to offer to the businesses and citizens of Effingham.”

In its most recent data (2006) the FBI reported that 9.9 million Americans were identity theft victims and businesses and consumers had losses of over $52.6 billion. In Georgia, cases of identity theft are rising dramatically. Georgia now ranks seventh highest in the U.S. per 100,000 persons.

Forty percent of business costs for individual cases of identity theft exceed $15,000. Costs for the individual are high as well, with victims losing an average of $1,800 in wages while dealing with their cases. Victims also spend an average of $1,300 in expenses related to their cases. This doesn’t even take into account the emotional costs, damage to one’s credit and possible arrest as a result of an imposter’s actions.

Because of its complexity, many times victims don’t realize that their identity has been stolen until months after the fact.

This identity theft prevention seminar will cover low-tech and high-tech methods used by the bad guys. This includes everything from telephone scams, job related crimes, stealing check information and social security numbers, “snail mail” tricks, dumpster diving, shoulder surfing, stimulus and social networking scams.

“In the high-tech realm, the bad guys are hacking computers, using spyware, phishing for information and getting to your account numbers and passwords by using sneaky software programs called ‘trojans, adware and spyware’. These open your computer’s back door files to a treasure of data you don’t want compromised,” Hinson said.

All seminar sessions will be held at the Effingham Chamber-Welcome Center, located at 520 W. 3rd Street in Springfield. Choose the session you prefer and call the Chamber at 754-3301. Seats are limited.

Registration is $12 for Chamber members and $20 for non-members. RSVP by July 3. You can also register on line at Hit the desired date on the calendar and scroll down on the details page. Registration includes all course materials and refreshments.

This seminar will be facilitated by Lainie Jenkins of First Southern National Bank -Effingham Mortgage Division, and Brian Girardeau, an Effingham County Sheriff’s Office investigator specializing in general crimes, identity and financial fraud.