According to lifelock.com,
In 2010, over 8 million Americans fell victim to identity theft – that’s more than the entire population of the state of Virginia!
It is easy to think we are immune to things like death, accidents, and identity theft, but no one is. Be proactive people. When it happens, it sucks and you'll wish you would have.
Other interesting facts from the 2007 Javelin Strategy and Research Study,
- The mean fraud amount per fraud victim was $5,720
- The mean resolution time was 25 hours per victim
And for the millenials out there, y'all are the most affected. 20-29 year olds accounted for 23% of the complaints filed with the FTC. (FTC. Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for January - December 2011. February 2012.)
Protect yourself people.
Three easy ways to prevent identity theft.
1. Check your credit regularly or even better, sign up for credit monitoring. You'll receive alerts (text, email, phone) if credit cards have been opened, addresses have been changed, changes in your credit score. And depending on which service you get, you'll be protected up to a certain amount if you are a victim of theft. Your credit score wins big things for us in life so it behooves us to protect it. Check out freecreditreport.com and lifelock.com. Costs will be anywhere between $100 - $275 a year. At the very least check your credit at least once a quarter.
2. Properly recycle all technology through e-waste programs, but specifically your computers and cell phones which hold a lot of personal information. The San Francisco Bay Area has a super amazing company, the Green Citizen that properly destroys hard drives. It is easy to go to any e-waste program, but make sure you do your research. Many e-waste recycling facilities ship overseas and who knows what happens when it gets there.
3. Don't do banking/online financial things over public networks. If there is any place that leaves your computer super vulnerable, it is on open public networks like the library or Startbucks. There are all sorts of thief geeks out there looking to steal your information from the wire waves. Wait until you are on a trusted network, like your secure home network to do such things.
And if you are a victim of identity theft, here is what the FTC says to do. It sounds laborious and painful. I suggest just putting some preventive measures in place now.
Onwards. Keep your credit score clean and squeaky out there. LL