Every 2 seconds, another American becomes the victim of identity theft. In 2013 there were over 2 million complaints of identity theft in the United States, representing an increase of half a million people in 2012. With an upward trend in data breaches, identity fraud cases will also increase.
Who’s at risk?
Everyone is at risk for identity theft, however, there are populations that are at a higher risk than some. The following is a list of the top 5 risk groups when it comes to identity theft:
- Social media participants
- People who pay with a credit card
- Mobile phone users
- Executive leaders
Identity thieves have all kinds of motives. How and who they target will depend on if they want a fraudulent identity to make a large purchase, get a job, usurp your insurance coverage, commit a crime or anything else. Everyone has some risk of identity theft.
How they find you
In a post-Snowden world, it should come as no surprise that you may be monitored, not just by the government, but also by identity thieves. Without even breaching data or breaking into your home, an identity thief can learn a lot about a victim just by watching in public. Your name, address and telephone number are more than enough to get an identity thief started, and that information can be fairly simple to ascertain even without people putting it in their social media profiles. To get enough information to open a credit card in someone else’s name can be as simple as digging in a dumpster.
In many cases, the victim is the weakest link when it comes to protecting identity
A few simple digital and physical steps can go a long way in protecting you from identity theft:
- Secure your mailbox
- Keep tabs on your credit report
- Never respond to unsolicited request for personal information
- Enroll in fraud alert programs
With such a vast number of reasons for criminals to steal identities and the high number of risk factors, this is not a problem that is going away anytime soon.
This year at Secure360, we’re lucky to have an identity theft expert, Frank Abagnale, as a keynote speaker. Register now and hear how Abagnale has been helping catch identity thieves in the FBI for over 36 years.