Identity Theft’s Reach and Costs

The New York Times published today a survey results on the number of people in the US, who suffered from identity theft: “The ranks of identity theft victims are large… In broad terms — including a thief’s use of existing credit card, bank or other accounts — the number of victims is about nine million a year, or roughly 4 percent of the United States adult population, according to surveys by Javelin Strategy and Research, an independent research firm.” About three million Americans each year fall victim to the worst kind of identity theft, new account fraud.

Although there are no exact figures of the crime’s costs, the Javelin study estimates the average annual cost per stolen identity at $6,300, a 22 percent increase since 2003.

Another New York Times article advises the following 8 steps to avoid identity theft:

  • Get a free credit report once a year and report any suspicious activity.
  • Cancel unnecessary credit cards.
  • Do not carry your Social Security card in a wallet or purse.
  • Use credit cards, not debit cards, for online shopping.
  • Do not leave mail in an unlocked box.
  • Keep tax records and other documents in locked files. Many identity thieves are relatives, colleagues or home visitors or workers.
  • Reduce preapproved credit offers by visiting www.optoutprescreen.com.
  • If businesses ask for your Social Security number, ask to use other identification instead.
  • Identity theives can also steal your identity information from your home PC, or computer at work. In order to secure this data, you need to implement specific technology solutions. But, notwithstanding all these measures, no one can be absolutely sure his identity information is safe.

    This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected. FindProtected is an effective security program that allows you to search your network for password protected files. With FindProtected, you can properly identify protected files and relocate them if necessary.

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