Just reading that bring chills to everyone, even if you are lucky enough not to experience it! We ALL fear it and when we do have to deal with it, on any level, it is a nightmare!!
Identity Theft affects more than 33% of people here in the US. That means each year, over 15 million Americans fall victim to identity theft and 1 in 5 people in the EU experience identity theft.
Crazier still is that in 2020, over 2.2 million fraud reports were handled by the FDAC. And let’s not get into child identity theft – which is often not found out for years, but that is for another post!!
I myself have had my card numbers stolen online repeatedly, and that causes enough of a pain. Having one’s identity stolen takes it to the next level…
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is defined as the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person’s private identifying information.
Things like social security numbers, green cards, driver’s license, passport, financial cards and information, academic records, medical records, birth certificates, tax numbers, business information and anything else that is private and personal. Usually this is for their financial gain in some way.
Most commonly, they are stealing one’s information to illegally gain government benefits. Causing living nightmares for those victims. The next most common is to gain access to your credit and financial information in order to steal money.
The most frightening part of this type of crime is that often it takes a long time for someone to find out they have been victimized and the criminal is often untraceable and long gone by the time they find out.
Out of the 53 Billion Dollars lost by US citizens victimized by identity theft in 2021, 43 Billion of it was from the direct contact identity theft scam – the texts or emails that come direct and tell you you won something or are set to receive something if you enter your credit card information for just $.99 or something minimal. Or the phone call from some mysterious person claiming you owe them money or you have a settlement waiting…
I could go on with scam after scam, we all hear about them – this is why we need to start talking about them more.
Sadly, people are all to quick to pay only to be humiliated or embarrassed when they find out they have been scammed.
How Can We Protect Ourselves Against Identity Theft?
Knowing it is out there can cause a lot of fear within a person. But there are things you can do to protect yourself and stay ahead of this situation.
First and foremost is knowledge. Just knowing about it and sharing conversations on the latest scams to hit your area and friend group. Talking about it, researching and learning about it is power.
Second make sure you have a good security system (you can google and find great options from McCafee, Best Buy and others) for all of your electronic devices. These will notify you immediately if any of your information is being hacked or stolen.
Likewise, you want to be safe with all of your personal information – birth certificates, numbers and so on. These should never be online or shared with anyone you do not know.
Regularly check your balances and your financial information to keep on top of it.
Keep the conversation going! Talking about it, sharing what you’ve read, seen or heard, may just save someone else the headache and heartache of this type of crime. Join ours here on Conscious Straight Talk With Katie & Lindsey:
Cheers and stay safe out there!!
Malibu Mama Loves Xx