Protecting information from criminals is a smart financial decision. Although identity theft can come from many different situations, it’s possible to take measures to protect data from those who plan to use it for inappropriate purposes.
Who is Impacted by Identity Theft
Identity theft is a concern for any individual because it can impact the most powerful and the most humble alike. According to Nancy Dillon and Thomas Tracy from the New York Daily News, Michelle Obama, other political figures and popular celebrities have been the victim of identity theft. Popularity and serving in public office isn’t enough to prevent hackers and thieves from using data in an inappropriate way.
Any individual can face this issue, which is proven with the statistical data. According to Statisticbrain.com, 8,571,900 Americans are the victims of identity theft each year. That accounts for roughly 7 percent of the population and costs the average victim roughly $4,930 by the time the theft is discovered.
The number of victims is only related to those who come forward and make a report. In some cases, a theft isn’t noticed until much later.
Defining Identity Theft
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, identity theft falls into three main categories. A theft occurs when a credit card is used without the authorization of the card holder; a checking or savings account is used without the account holder’s permission, or personal information is gathered and misused.
The misused of personal information can take many forms. In the case of the First Lady and the other victims who had information hacked, the information was misused by publishing it online and making the information readily available to the public.
Measures to Protect Against Theft
Preventing personal data from being stolen isn’t limited to getting Life Lock or protection services. It’s also about common sense and taking measures to reduce the risk of a theft.
Protecting against identity theft can vary based on the potential concerns and locations where data is stored. Keeping information safe from thieves is a process that requires an understanding of the different methods used to obtain data.
The obvious protective solution is keeping information away from the eyes of others. According to Entrepreneur.com, sensitive financial information should never be left out. Even if, the statements, records or other data are currently in use and it’s only necessary to leave the room for a short period of time, put the data in a safe location.
In the case of credit card fraud and unauthorized uses of information on a credit card, it’s important to recognize potential sources. Any individual can jot down the information and use it later. The best way to avoid this situation is by keeping the card in hand and paying directly. Never give a credit card to a waiter, gas station attendant or other individual who will walk away to make the payment for goods or services. Pay at the cashier personally or use cash to prevent identity theft.