One of the biggest problems with identity theft is that a Social Security number will always access vital information. "Once it's compromised, it can happen again," said Scott.
If the person still knows the Social Security number, he/she can attack records again. The Social Security number can't be changed unless the theft is more than $80,000.
"If you're a victim, you have a lifetime of diligence," added Scott.
He recommends not using cashier's checks unless you know the person it came from very well. Internet scams like the Nigerian Cashiers Check Scam are rampant. The Nigerian Scam is very complicated. First, a person receives an e-mail from someone claiming to have a lot of money. Yet the sender claims to not trust the Nigerian banks where he lives and wants to send the receiver a cashier's check to then be cashed and wired back. The sender offers 10 percent for the trouble. But first, so the sender can trust the receiver, the sender wants to do a background check. The cashier's check looks accurate, so once the bank figures out it is forged, the bank goes after the receiver for the entirety of the check, and the sender ends up with 90 percent and the information on the background check. With this information, the sender maxes out several credit cards.
Internet lotteries are also scams. Internet lotteries make everyone winners. They ask for a fee to get the money to you. "No legitimate lottery will ever ask for money. The fees in legitimate lotteries all come out of the winnings," said Scott.
Identity thieves will also send fake e-mails from your bank saying there is a problem with the information with your account. The link might even look like the bank's Web site, but banks don't ask to fix problems by e-mail.
"Dumpster diving" is another common problem. This is where identity thieves go through trash or mailboxes to get a vital number. Scott recommends buying a shredder. Anything mailed out with personal information should be taken to the post office. He suggests checking the mail as soon as possible every day.
He recommends checking your credit report quarterly. Experian, Equifax, and Trans-Union will each give one free credit report a year. Also go through each bank account and credit card and look at every transaction.
Don't carry around passports or Social Security cards. They are not needed regularly and are all a thief needs to ruin a person's finances.
Scott admits that many businesses still ask for Social Security numbers for various reasons. He says everyone should make it hard on businesses to obtain Social Security numbers. Make them provide legitimate answers to how they will protect it once they get it.
Scott noted that two-thirds of identity theft cases go unreported, because many people blame themselves for their misfortune.
No matter how careless the victim was, he says identity theft should never go unreported.