Avoid becoming a victim of identity theft
August 15, 2012
According to United States Department of Justice, 7 percent of all households had at least one member of the family, at or over the age of 12, who has been a victim of some sort of identity theft.
Identity theft is when someone uses another person's personally identifying information to commit fraud. As consumers, we use our personal identification information on a daily basis, including simple tasks such as when we sign-on to computers or use a preferred card at retail stores. You might not be aware of how often you use your personal identification information in your day-to-day life.
Identity theft crimes take many forms and may include renting an apartment or establishing a credit card account in your name. From 2005 to 2010, 64.1 percent of these instances involved credit card fraud, which is the fastest growing type of identity theft. Over the range of this time period, credit card misuse has doubled as the determining factor in identity theft. Many times victims find out about the charges when they review their credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges they didn’t make—or when they are contacted by a debt collector.
Social media also has played a major role in identity fraud. Study shows that consumers are putting themselves at risk as a result of their social media behaviors. Most social media sites generate revenue with targeted advertising, based on personal information. As such, they encourage registered users to provide as much personal information as they can, leaving the personal information exposed to identity theft and fraud.
As college students prepare for the upcoming fall semester, identity theft may not be a big concern. The U.S. Department of Education conducted a recent survey and found that 48 percent of the students admitted to leaving personal information out in their dorm rooms, some of which included financial information. Thirty-one percent of these students were burglarized or knew someone in the building who was burglarized, which means that their personal information could have been compromised. Identity thieves look to college-aged adults because they often have good, clean credit scores, making them an ideal target.
There are many things you can do to help keep yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft. Learn more about preventing and detecting identity theft.