Identity Theft Is Costly And Time Consuming
Chances are pretty good that you know someone who has had their identity stolen. “According to a national household survey of 70,000 people conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, identity theft resulted in $24.7 billion in financial losses last year.” The survey revealed that one of every 14 Americans, 16 or older, was either a target or a victim of identity theft.
According to the survey, 10% of the households with incomes over $75,000 were victimized and two thirds of identity theft victims experience financial losses.
Not only is it very costly in terms of money, but also in the emotional toll that it takes on victims not to mention the time spent trying to recover from the damage done to one’s credit which may take weeks or months to repair.
And unfortunately only one in 10 identity theft victims reports the incident to police while the other 90% contact their credit card company or bank to report misuse or attempted misuse of an account or personal information.
We reported recently that the IRS has over 3000 agents working full time just on the tax issue of phony identity theft-based refund claims. The IRS is under considerable stress to get refunds out quickly thus limiting their ability to check the identity of taxpayers and verify their income claims. The amount of phony claims in the first nine months of calendar 2013 amounted to 14.4 million claims totaling over $8.4 billion.
Reportedly 10% of the victims spent more than a month clearing up reported problems.
The recent report of the theft of 40 million credit card users from Target highlights the vulnerability of everyone.
And it’s not just the money that the bad guys are after. Identity thieves also use stolen identities to get jobs and deceive police when arrested. Phone service both cell and landline, cable and satellite TV service, utilities, medical insurance, home mortgages and rental housing are all susceptible to theft by identity thieves.
Here Are Some Prevention Tips
- Make sure you check your credit report from each of the three major bureaus every year.
- When shopping online make sure there is an “HTTPS” in the URL. This designates that the site is secure and that your information is protected.
- Avoid phishing schemes. These are email or pop-up messages enticing you to reveal your personal information. Use your firewall and antivirus protection and make sure your anti-spyware software is up-to-date.
- Avoid skimming devices. These are devices which are most commonly attached to ATM machines but recently have been seen at self-serve gas stations. They read the magnetic strip on your card which contains your card numbers and other information.
- Dumpster diving or scavenging through trash left at your curb are the old-fashioned ways of getting your information.
- The current technique for pickpocketing involves the RFID numbers off your credit cards from your purse or wallet without you even knowing about it by using a scanning device.
- Shred or obliterate names, addresses and other personal data from mail.
Be aware of the problem, take precautions to protect your identity and follow these prevention tips and you will be way ahead of the game of protecting your identity.
This ID Theft Roller Set jumbles and obliterates confidential info printed on bills, checks, letters, junk mail, and more by using a specially-designed permanent ink security pattern.
This Stainless Steel Wallet prevents thieves from scanning RFID numbers on your credit cards-the new form of pick pocketing.