October 24, 2012
By: Jim Oosterman
According to the Federal Trade Commission, a staggering 9 million people were victims of identity theft last year, a 13% increase from the prior year. Identity thieves will use a variety of methods to steal one's personal information and with the growth of technology, the techniques used to steal information have become even more sophisticated.
Identity theft is when a person wrongfully obtains your personal information and uses it to commit fraud or steal money. Thieves today have adapted to the new technology to create very sophisticated high tech scams but have not limited themselves to just the internet. Victims have reported that there information was stolen by simply having their wallet, pocket book or personal computer stolen. Some other techniques that are used today include:
How Can I Protect Myself?
Credit card companies and financial institutions have many security standards and protocols in place to detect and defend against identity theft. These are vital when it comes to securing your personal information but don't solely rely on these precautions set up by your bank or credit card company; there are numerous steps you can take personally to add extra protection against identity theft. If you don't already, begin to monitor your checking and credit card accounts along with checking monthly bills and online accounts for suspicious transactions. Check your credit report information annually as well. The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to your credit report for free from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only authorized source for the free annual credit report that's yours by law. Other precautionary steps to protect prevent ID theft include:
What Should I Do If I Have Become A Victim Of ID Theft?
If you have reason to believe that you have fallen victim of ID theft, do not panic. Act swiftly and take the following steps to report the crime and restore your credit.
With the growing number of ID theft reports each year, it's more important than ever to take every precautionary step possible to protect your private information. It's also important to be aware and understand the tactics used by thieves so you can recognize if you are being targeted. For more information and additional resources, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.