Identity theft is a growing threat among various groups of people. About 16.6 million US citizens became victims of identity theft in 2012. With the advancements in the technology, the criminals keep on generating new and advanced methods to steal identities of people.
Identity theft is a real problem and everyone is a target of identity thieves. Yet, certain groups of people are easy targets for the thieves because of their vulnerability. Let us examine those groups:
It might be surprising that children are susceptible to identity theft. But, it’s true and stealing of children’s identity is called child identity theft. According to a study, there were around 150,000 cases of this crime.
Child identity theft is so common because the SSN of children is not listed with any credit agency and parents also do not check their child’s credit reports, as they don’t have any. Also, the crime could easily go undetected for years until the child becomes an adult and start using his SSN. Sadly, the identities of children are usually stolen by their family members and relatives.
To avoid this crime, try to protect your child’s personal information, especially SSN and check credit reports against fraudulent activities.
The elderly people are gradually becoming victims of identity theft. According to a survey conducted by the Investor Protection Trust, one in every five US citizen aged above 65 years suffer from identity theft. According to another report, the crime could cost $36 billion annually.
The reason for increased identity theft among senior citizens is because most of the senior citizens don’t check their credit. Also, most of the elderly people tend to have better credit due to their retirement savings. Unfortunately, the thief is usually a known person such as a caretaker.
It is advised to freeze your account to prevent this crime or you could regularly monitor your credit reports for identity theft monitoring.
The identity thieves even use identities of dead people to commit fraudulent activities and it is quite common. According to a study conducted in 2012 by the Analytics Labs, criminals used identities of around 2.5 million deceased US citizens every year.
This is because people usually don’t remember to check the credit of the person whom they lost recently. And sometimes, no one close of the deceased person is there.
To prevent this, family members or any close friend should inform the financial institutions and the Social Security Administration about the death of the deceased person.
Military people are at high risk of identity theft due to the same reason as given for the elderly people, i.e., military people also don’t regularly check their credit reports.
So, it is advised to regularly check your credit reports, or you can use credit monitoring services if you don’t have the time to check it on your own.
Social media users
Social media, which is a platform meant for sharing thoughts could be a dangerous platform for you as it could steal your identity. While you are required to share your details on social media websites, be alert with what you share and protect yourself from identity theft.
Never share your valuable information such as SSN, bank account information, etc. Even sharing your other personal details such as address, phone number, etc. can put you at risk.
Credit/Debit card users
Paying through credit/debit cards has become very convenient for the people these days. But remember, it makes you more vulnerable to identity theft. Using cards online or offline is equally dangerous and can lead to credit card identity theft.
Taking some precautions is always helpful. Try to use cards as least as possible, instead, use cash and never write your PIN anywhere. Report immediately if you lose a card.
With the introduction of smartphones, our various daily activities have become easier. However, we should remember that this convenience comes with the threat of identity theft. According to Todd Davis, CEO of Tempe and LifeLock Inc, “Smartphone users are one-third more likely to fall prey than the general public.”
People should not be careless about protecting their smartphones. They should secure their phones with passwords/PINs and antivirus applications. Using public Wi-Fi to make online transactions is again an invitation to identity theft.
The people with money and power are a major target of the identity thieves due to the obvious reason of getting more money by stealing identities of these people. Rich people have several bank accounts having great finances. About 10% of these people become identity theft victim each year.
The best way to avoid identity theft for high earning people is the usage of credit monitoring services.
People using weak passwords
To protect your information online, passwords are required. Weak passwords like your name, date of birth, etc. can easily be guessed and can lead to identity theft.
Always try to use strong and complicated passwords which are easy for you to remember and difficult for others to guess.
People using shared accommodation
People living in shared accommodation having roommates are also prone to identity theft. This is because many things are shared by them such as the mailbox which could lead to getting the mail in the hands of the wrong person. Also, as they live under the same roof, it could lead to stealing of things such as credit cards, documents, etc. which could lead to identity theft.
Taking some protective measures such as getting your own personal mailbox and securing your personal documents and other important stuff can prevent the risk of identity theft.
All the groups listed above are prone to identity theft in a way or another. Taking appropriate precautions can help to protect against identity theft. Individuals should take steps to protect their identity and if the individuals can themselves look after it, then the family members should help to manage it.