The rise of identity theft is a sure problem for the people living in the USA. Identity theft is increasing day by day and affecting numerous US citizens. Identity thieves are looking for newer ways to exploit individuals. There are hundreds of methods known to them for stealing an identity.
The horrifying fact is that identity theft is expected to beat traditional theft as the primary form of crime.
What Identity Thieves Aim For?
Identity thieves aim for detailed pieces of information of an individual to steal his/her identity. The different pieces of information that identity thieves look for are:
- Usernames, Passwords, and PINs
- Social Security Numbers
- Phone/Mobile Numbers
- Bank Account Details
- Credit/Debit Card Details
- Employment/Student Identification Numbers
- Driver’s License Details
- Passport Numbers
- Medical/Health Card Information
- Insurance Identification Numbers
Identity thieves can use any type of your personal information to acquire your identity.
When Identity Theft Surpasses Traditional Theft
Clever identity thieves have learned that it’s more lucrative to hack into a whole company’s database. This way they can gain access to the information of all the employees of the company. These thieves then sell this information online for thousands of dollars. As a result, identity theft has become big business.
According to security analysts, identity theft will surpass traditional form of theft. It is a scary yet true fact. According to experts, everyone should prepare to become a victim at some point.
When a Victim Suffers Multiple Forms of Identity Theft
Kellie Droste, resident of Maricopa, Arizona got a shocking news after talking to her accountant. Her accountant told her that an identity thief has filed a tax return in her name to claim her refund. When Droste reported the tax fraud, she was told that it would take at least six months to sort out the matter. Therefore, she had to wait to receive her $2,700 tax refund.
Arizona is one of the leading US states to experience identity theft. ID theft is very common in this state, according to Federal Trade Commission (FTC). See the list of highest rated identity theft states.
After suffering from tax fraud, the felony was not over for Droste. A customer-service representative informed her that her recent credit-card application was incomplete. She was surprised after hearing that as she never applied for a new credit card. After investigating credit card fraud, she came to know that the thief stole and used her full name, Social Security Number, and date of birth to apply for a credit card.
Great Challenge for Retailers
Identity theft is a great challenge for both online and offline retailers. Trustworthy retailers can become a partial victim of ID theft. Identity thieves use malicious computer programs to infiltrate sensitive information of customers such as their credit card numbers, passwords, etc. The number of malicious programs which can steal your information has increased to a great extent.
Many times the retailers who incur great losses from ID theft, often don’t pursue an investigation. This is because they think it’s expensive and the chances of solving the crime are very low. Also, many retailers and businesses find it convenient to clear up the damage done through the crime rather than using preventive measures.
Huge Losses for Victims
The losses of ID theft vary from one individual to another individual. Some victims have to get their debit and credit cards replaced. But for most victims, it is much more than the inconvenience of having to replace their credit and debit cards.
Also, when a thief uses a stolen identity to apply for new lines of credit, it becomes more and more difficult for the victim to clean the damage. The victim might have to spend several years to resolve bad debt in his name. While some individuals are forced to borrow money to clear up their bad debt, others are forced to lose their homes due to bankruptcy.
When Child Identity Theft Becomes a Friendly Fraud
The very common type of identity theft, child identity theft, is even more challenging for the victims. It is more difficult to identify and resolve child identity theft as compared to the usual form of identity theft. The children or their parents don’t find out about this crime until the children apply for a credit line, etc. One such case involves a college student who almost lost internship due to identity theft.
Another upsetting point of child identity theft is the nature of the fraud. In most cases, child identity fraud is a “friendly fraud”. That means, usually a family friend, relative or even the child’s own parents are involved in this fraud. According to a study, more than 70% of reported child identity fraud is friendly fraud.
Identity theft is becoming huge day by day and it is never going to stop. But incorporating preventive measures can help you prevent and fight identity theft.