John Zamora, of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, educates Moffat County residents about the growing risk of identity theft Wednesday at American Legion Post 62. The presentation was part of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association's Aging Well Program.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

John Zamora, of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, educates Moffat County residents about the growing risk of identity theft Wednesday at American Legion Post 62. The presentation was part of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association's Aging Well Program.

CBI agent talks to seniors about protection from identity theft

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Identity Theft

John Zamora, an agent for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's Identity Theft Fraud Unit for the Western Slope, based in Grand junction, talked about identity theft to a group of more than 50 seniors at the American Legion Post 62.

John Zamora, an agent for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's Identity Theft Fraud Unit for the Western Slope, based in Grand junction, talked about identity theft to a group of more than 50 seniors at the American Legion Post 62.

The Aging Well Program's Wellness Wednesdays took on a slightly more serious tone this week.

John Zamora, an agent for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's Identity Theft Fraud Unit for the Western Slope, based in Grand junction, talked about identity theft to a group of more than 50 seniors at the American Legion Post 62.

Identity theft is the act of taking someone's identity, personal information, including banking information and Social Security numbers, with the intent of committing fraud and other crimes.

Zamora talked about how pervasive identity theft has become in recent years.

"But I think with some of the seniors, a lot of the scams they get victimized by are the phone calls, people pretending to be a grandchild," Zamora said. "Because back in the day, a hand shake and a polite voice in your words meant a lot. Nowadays, it just doesn't mean a lot.

"Anyone can be a victim."

On average, it takes $600 and 1,400 hours to repair the credit of an individual whose identity was stolen, Zamora said.

The ways the "bad guys" steal identities vary from stealing mail and trash, personal theft, and phone and Internet scams.

"These guys are slick; these guys are smooth, and that's their job" to steal identities, Zamora said.

Zamora said there are several ways to stay protected from people who are looking to steal identities.

Shredding documents is very important, as people will look through mail and get valuable information.

Zamora also suggested using prepaid credit cards for purchases online, something Stefka White, of Craig, agreed with.

The idea of making shopping on the Internet safer through one simple step is appealing, she continued.

"The presentation made a real impact," White said about Zamora's presentation. She said the information came "from a reliable source."

A reliable source was something Zamora talked about a lot.

He warned about giving out information to people and companies that were not well known.

"Know who you're talking with, and protect your Social Security number," he said. "Never give your personal information to just anybody."

Hans Hallgren can be reached at 875-1792 or hhallgren@craigdailypress.com.

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