Think identity theft is going down due to greater vigilance and swift government action? Well, I’m sorry to tell you that this is not the case. In fact, it is just the opposite. According to Javelin Strategies, a prominent research firm that often reports on identity theft, incidences of the crime increased by 11% from 2008 to 2009 altering the lives of 11 million Americans. If these numbers prove to be a pattern, one in every 20 Americans risks being a victim this year. Who knows? It may prove to be even worse than that over time.
Not only that, but the odds go up considerably if you are a young adult or a small business owner. This is because people in these groups tend to engage in riskier activities that can lead them to be victimized more frequently. More specifically, young adults, especially those who are away at college, are likely to use library computers or share computers in their dorm rooms with roommates and others who they do not know very well. Small business owners tend to complete a large number of financial transactions by mail or over the Internet, often using their personal accounts and home address to aid in processing these transactions.
You are also more at risk to be a victim of fraud if you get a letter in the mail from a company that has access to your personal information stating you’ve been a victim of a data breach. While these letters are, unfortunately, becoming pretty commonplace, it’s important to pay close attention to them and not simply drop them in the recycling or the trash. The majority of recipients tend to do so (a) because they doubt the legitimacy of the letter or (b) because they are so used to getting them that they don’t really think too much of it anymore. If you receive one of these letters, your chances of being victimized by an identity thief go up to one in four. It’s not wise to sit idly by and not worry about it.
Whether your odds are one in 20 or one in four for becoming an identity theft victim this year, those are pretty high odds; high enough that they should encourage you to act. One action you can take is to sign up with an identity theft protection company. They can include credit monitoring, fraud detection, database monitoring, address change notifications, a lock on your credit file and more. It all depends on how much security you want to add to your accounts. Of course, a higher security plan will provide you with the most protection, but having a basic plan is infinitely better than having no plan of action at all.
Follow this link for up to date identity theft statistics.
Identity theft is not to be taken lightly, protect yourself today!