Identity theft has been a big crisis for quite some time and is increasingly getting worse by the day. You cannot specifically pinpoint it to when the economy took a turn for the worst but identity theft certainly did not help any one out. Individuals react differently in desperate times and some people just have no remorse for the actions that they are involved in. Identity theft statistics are disturbingly high, and so people must be informed about threats that are being made.|
How It Happens
How does identity theft happen? It can happen in a variety of ways but the leading cause is people are careless with their personal belongings/information. There have been recent reports made about how a good amount of personal information has been found in public areas. This is pure carelessness caused by someone not properly disposing of his or her information. Rule number one when disposing of any personal information is to shred it. If you are the slightest bit concerned about your information falling into the wrong hands, do not give someone the perfect opportunity to do so. Eventually you will fall victim to identity theft. Here are a few other careless mistakes that people tend to make:
As bothersome as these statistics and facts are, this list is extremely condensed and only speaks for this past year. These numbers have increased by over one million incidences in comparison to the year prior!
- Divulging personal information over the telephone or in email
- Posting on social media sites – not just your friends have access
- Carrying a social security card in a wallet or purse
- Unsecured websites and/or internet access
- Leaving mail in a mail box
- Allowing online retailers save personal information as well as credit card numbers
The major issue with the above-mentioned scenario is that it is not just a one-time ordeal. This continues to happen quite frequently, across the country. Inventory services have been the center of scrutiny for leaving consumers personal records for everyone to see. Whether accidental or not, hundreds of innocent people are left vulnerable with no control over the situation.
Other ways that identity theft can happen is by someone accessing your information over the internet or possibly stealing your wallet. Another form of identity theft that has increased 20% over the past year is medical identity theft.
Stats & Facts
Brace yourself for some of the most recent identity theft facts. A fraud report released earlier this year states that in one year alone:
- 12.6 million Americans were victims of identity theft (1 every 3 seconds)
- More than $21 billion was stolen by fraudsters
- 1 in 4 data breach letters were about Social Security numbers be stolen
- Fraudsters have it down to a science and generally only use misleading info for 48 days
- Small retailers are losing out on business
- 1.5 million consumers were frauded by someone they knew
The absolute best way anyone can protect himself or herself is to be careful with who they share their information with, who has access to it and how they dispose of it. Along with changing passwords regularly and making items password protected, surfing the web on secured sites and so forth, continuing to conduct constant credit checks will help tremendously as well.
Having a good understanding of what credit is and how it works will better prepare someone in case of a bad situation. When someone monitors their credit regularly, they are able to notice fraudulent activity and generally stop it before it gets out of control. The best time to check your credit report information is after a suspected data breach has occurred. As soon as fraudulent activity is suspected, the best thing to do is act quickly and start contacting the proper agencies. They will then be able to assist you with tracking down your predator and getting your financials back on track.
As sad as it may be to hear people cannot be so trusting. The times have changed drastically where someone’s word is not worth more than gold; more people are out for themselves and willing to take down anyone regardless of who they are.
Joy Mali is an active blogger who is fond of writing articles on identity theft and helping people to protect against identity theft. Follow her on Twitter to know more on find out why identity theft threats occur more than you think.
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