With recent headlines concerning data breaches at major retailers, it seems like not a day goes by that we aren’t hearing about Identity Theft.
While identity theft isn’t a new problem, the number of instances is continuing to grow. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 11,571,900 people annually fall victim to identity fraud. However, many people still don’t understand the fundamentals of the crime, and most importantly how to protect themselves. In today’s technology-driven society personal information is easily accessible and identity theft is more common than ever. Here are just a few ways to keep yourself protected:
Check your Credit – Carefully look over your credit card and bank statements and keep an eye out for any suspicious charges. Track down even the smallest charges you don’t remember making, because there’s a chance your credit information was stolen.
Be Careful About Releasing Information – Don’t give your information out to just anyone. One way that criminals obtain your personal information is through fake WiFi connections and through website data. Only purchase items online from reliable and secure sources and refrain from posting personal information about yourself, like your address and date of birth. Also, NEVER send your social security number or financial information through an email. Identity thieves will send out fake emails that show they’re from your bank (sometimes called “phishing”). If you’re not sure whether the email is real, call your financial institution.
Military Members Should Take Extra Precautions – Military veterans file more complaints about identity theft than any other group, according to an article in US News. Not only are veterans names most accessible through the internet, but according to the article, their conditioned training has left them more susceptible to identity theft. To help fight the issue, the Federal Trade Commission designated July 17 as Military Consumer Protection Day, to help better educate veterans on the level of danger associated with identity theft.