How safe is your identity? A study from Javelin Strategy & Research showed that more than 11 million adults were victimized by identity thieves in 2009. That’s a 12% increase from the previous year.
The report also revealed that identity theft was responsible for a $54 billion loss to Americans. Victims typically spend more than 21 hours attempting to resolve this crime. It’s become an epidemic – so what are you doing to prevent identity theft?
According to The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), most Americans are worried about identity theft. A recent ITRC study determined that 87% of the people they spoke to “expressed significant concern about having their credit card information stolen.” People seem to be thinking about identity theft, but they may not be doing much to avoid it.
The study showed that 58% of the people surveyed check out every URL they receive in an email before clicking. With the amount of SPAM these days, that number is surprisingly low. Even worse is the realization that only 35% of people change their passwords regularly. 23% said they always use credit cards with low limits to make purchases online. That may stop criminals from stealing large amounts of your money, but it doesn’t prevent identity theft.
Protect Yourself Online
It’s up to you to protect yourself from online identity theft. Phishing is one of the most common scams to watch for. Criminals send emails that appear to be from reputable companies, and ask you to click a link and log in to your account. If you click the link, you’ll be taken to a website that looks exactly like the real thing. It isn’t.
Another form of phishing is called Tabnabbing. This allows identity thieves to take control of an inactive browser window on your computer, and transform the screen to look like the login page for a site you probably use. Problem is, the site is a phony. Once you log in, the identity thieves have your user name and password.
The best way to avoid phishing scams is to always enter the full URL of any site you visit before logging in. Modern thieves are very clever, so no matter how careful you are there’s always a risk. Changing your password regularly can help prevent identity theft by cutting off a thief’s access to your personal account. Experts suggest using 12-character passwords that include letters, numbers and symbols.
More Ways To Avoid Identity Theft
Online identity theft is on the rise, but criminals still use tried and true methods to steal from you and ruin your credit. You must be vigilant.
Most victims of identity theft don’t know about it until after the fact. The longer it takes you to notice, the harder it is to clean up your credit rating and restore your good name. Check your credit report regularly – it’s the fastest way to discover and stop a blooming problem.
Thieves come after your money any way they can, so you must do everything possible to stop them. Always shred documents that contain bank account, credit card or other sensitive information. Run a Background Check with Criminal Records Report before dealing with anyone personally or professionally. Criminals often steal mail to look for pre-approved credit card offers, so if you don’t receive your bills on time, find out why.
So what are you doing to prevent identity theft? If you have any other suggestions, please leave us a comment to share your thoughts. Thank you for reading the PeopleFinders People Search blog.
Tags: Avoid Identity Theft, Background Check, Check Your Credit Report, Criminal Records Report, Identity Theft, Identity Theft Victim, Identity Thieves, Phishing, Prevent Identity Theft, Tabnabbing, The Identity Theft Resource Center, Theft Of Identity, Victims Of Identity Theft