When you use a computer to send or receive personal information or money, you run the risk of identity theft. Nearly six in 10 people in the United States (57%) have experienced a major personal or financial crisis, such as losing their job, owing money to a friend or family member, or a personal injury. Nearly four in 10 people (38%) think they are susceptible to identity theft.
Obviously, identity theft is a major crime. It is the third-largest crime in America, after burglary and auto theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), identity theft is happening all over the country every day, and it costs Americans $52 billion every year. It’s a growing problem in all 50 states, and it should be approached responsibly.
How Does Identity Theft Work?
Identity theft is all about money. The bad guys may aim to steal your identity, your money, and your personal data sovereignty in order to run scams, commit crimes, and sell your information to others. Identity theft can happen to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. So, how can you protect yourself and your identity from being stolen? The key is to start by educating yourself about identity theft and fraud or by using the Spokeo Identity Theft Protection service.
Identity theft doesn’t always take place in the form of a scam when someone poses as another person in order to take advantage of the person being scammed. A fraudulent transaction or a scam is where someone lies about what they are doing, what they need from the other person, where they are from, and what they do for a living. The person who is being targeted has little or no knowledge that he or she has been impersonated. As a result, the impersonator goes about life as if he or she is the real identity holder. The thief goes into debt, commits crimes, and poses as the identity holder for all kinds of transactions and services.
As a rule, identity theft is done through the following methods:
- Theft of a person’s personal information;
- Theft of the person’s name;
- Fraudulent transactions, such as someone applying for credit or submitting a fake tax return using the identity owner’s identity;
- Impersonation of someone or a company.
Identity theft can happen to anyone and affect anyone’s identity. This is why it is very important to keep your personal data, such as your birth date, social security number, and other information, secure. Thieves are watching for this data and are taking advantage of it to commit crimes. Therefore, you need to stay vigilant against identity theft to protect yourself.
What Makes Someone an Ideal Victim of Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a crime that happens to everyone. Fraudsters target people who are vulnerable and are easily tricked. Here are a few common reasons that people become victims of identity theft:
- People with low financial literacy;
- Those who do not check their mail carefully;
- People who are careless with online identity information;
- Those who do not check their bank account statements carefully;
- People with mental health problems;
- Disorganized people who may allow others access to their finances or banking;
- People living in poverty;
- Those who are likely to lose track of their money;
- People with disabilities
Identity theft is a crime that happens to everyone. It’s easy to fall victim to identity theft because it doesn’t necessarily require any contact with the person whose identity is being used. A thief usually doesn’t even know the person whose identity they’re using.
Take Care of Your Safety
If you are worried about someone stealing your personal information, you can avoid this problem by making sure you keep your wallet and purse with you at all times. Keep your social security card in your wallet or purse, and limit access to your credit card and bank information to only people you trust. If someone tries to swindle you by using your identity, report it immediately to the appropriate authorities. The same refers to situations when you get a suspicious call from someone asking you to send money to an overseas location. It’s never a good idea to transfer money without first checking with your bank.