With nearly nine million Americans falling victim to identity theft each year, something must be done to protect the victims. Identity theft is often referred to as identity fraud. This type of crime is to use someone’s personal information to get credit or money. This can be the use of a social security number to obtain credit or a credit card for purchases. The crime must involve deception and the person stealing the information must be taking it for monetary gain in order to be considered identity theft.
Why Is Identity Theft So Dangerous?
Identity theft is on the rise. It is easier to steal someone’s identity because it is silent. There is no need to break into a home or any cause for physical violence. In fact, a person can be sitting in a public place using their computer and someone can be behind them shoulder surfing for information. Criminals are looking for someone to punch in a credit card number on a phone call or will listen to any telephone conversations for personal information. It’s a clever scheme that is becoming alarmingly popular. Here are the top ways for information to be collected:
• Dumpster Diving
• Eves Dropping on Phone Conversations
• Stealing Laptops or Other Computers
What makes identity theft so dangerous is the fact that the victim usually has no clue. For some it’s a sudden loss of all money in an account, but for others it may take weeks or years to truly understand the amount of loss. Oftentimes, when people have their credit pulled to obtain a loan they find out they have accounts that are incorrect. It is important to pull random credit reports and to be proactive with passwords and other pertinent information. The most important rule is to never give vital information out over the telephone, period!
Early days of identity theft involved dumpster diving. Criminals would ravage through garbage looking for old checks, deposit slips with account number or anything financial they could get their hands on. Today’s identity theft criminals are much savvier. The internet has become the best way to obtain someone’s information. Email has become an easy target for personal information, this called phishing. People will receive an email from their credit card company or their bank asking to update their information.
Pharming is another popular way to get information. When someone visits a website they can be redirected to another website. This counterfeit site will be used to trick the person to obtain their financial information. While some people still use old fashioned ways, high tech criminals never have to leave their home to rob a person blind.
What Is The Cost Of Identity Theft?
Those who are victims of identity theft can be denied credit or worse employment. They can lose their homes or vehicles and sanity by the time the process is over. Finding these criminals is not always an easy venture, as most of them hide behind a computer screen. Unlike a physical crime where there is evidence to examine, cyber evidence is harder to capture. These criminal masterminds know how to cover their tracks to prevent being caught.
The best way to keep a family safe from falling victim is to never do transactions on the internet or pass personal information in email form. While there is no full proof way to protect oneself, being one step ahead of a criminal by being cautious a good place to start.
Author’s Bio: Sidra, a well known writer is known for writing articles on security issues. Visit the website IdentityTheft.net for better knowledge.