11.7 Million Identity Theft Victims Occur Per Year: Are You Next?
According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, 5% of U.S. residents over the age of 16 fell victim to identity theft within a two-year period. More than half of those affected were victims of credit card fraud.
Identity theft was defined in the survey as the attempted or successful misuse of an existing account, such as a debit or credit account, misuse of personal information to open a new account, or misuse of personal information for other fraudulent purposes, such as obtaining government benefits.
Nationwide 1 out of 4 of those victims faced out of pocket loses of an average $1,870.00. Total losses exceeded $17 billion dollars.
More and more banks and credit card companies are getting better at detecting and preventing fraud in addition to offering zero liability policies. However there is still a significant dollar loss as the public is still being victimized at a staggering rate.
People are victimized in a number of ways including run of the mill scams, advanced fee scams, dumpster diving, mail theft, email phishing and criminal computer hacking.
The study further showed ages 65 and older were least likely to be victimized while those under 35 are much bigger targets. Those with incomes of $75,000.00 are more likely targets.
- Invest in a locking mailbox
- Shred everything disposable that has personal information
- Protect your PC with updated anti-virus and critical operating system security patches
- Beware of scams and ruses trying to separate you from your money
- Pay close attention to bank and credit card statements and refute unauthorized charges within 60 days.
- To ensure peace of mind —subscribe to an identity theft protection service, such as McAfee Identity Protection, which offers proactive identity surveillance and lost wallet protection. Backed by $1 million Guarantee, if your credit or debit cards are ever lost, stolen or misused without your authorization, you can call McAfee Identity Protection and they’ll help you cancel them and order new ones. Please see Guarantee for details.
For additional tips, please visit http://www.counteridentitytheft.com
Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him explain how a person becomes an identity theft victim on CounterIdentityTheft.com (Disclosures).
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