According to the Federal Bureau of Investigating (FBI), identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the united states. In 2012, statistics show a person in the United States falls victim to identity theft every 8.7 seconds. Identity Theft is the illegal use of someone else’s personal identifying information (such as a Social Security number) in order to get money or credit (merrium-webster.com).
Identity theft has drastically increased due to the technological advances of the internet and electronic devices. Before, a thief could only steal your identity by stealing your personal documents, going through your trash, and/or stealing your mail. Now days, it is easy for someone to get your personal information over the internet.
An identity thief can use your social social security number to open up credit cards in your name, to get government documents in your name (drivers license), loans in your name, etc… They can drain your bank accounts,
In order to protect yourself, you should never carry personal documents such as, your social security card, in your wallet. You should always shred mail or documents that contain your personal information. Also, shred pre-approved credit card applications. Monitor your bank account transactions. You will be able to catch any transactions that you have not made.
A lot of people do online banking, shopping, and pay their bills online, this makes them super susceptible to their information getting stolen online. Make sure you clear your log-ins and passwords. Change your passwords once a month. When ever you are making a purchase online, pay with a credit card. Also, make sure a website is a secure website before you make a purchase. The way to tell if a website is secure or not, is to look for a yellow lock in the right hand corner of the screen, and make sure an s follows the http in the URL. Never purchase items on un-secure websites. If you use your laptop, tablets, cell phones, etc… on a shared network, make sure you delete all cookies from computers memory and delete your browser history. Be alert for • Be alert for phishing, a trick in which spam or pop-ups mimic legitimate banks or businesses to obtain your personal information, which they use to access your accounts. Always verify that you’re on a familiar Web site with security controls before entering personal data.