Over 10 million new victims of identity theft are reported to law enforcement every year. According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. One in 20 adults are now victimized by computer fraud.
The people who are the most vulnerable victims are the very young and the elderly.
The technology of the Internet has bred individuals who are globally organized. Law enforcement officials are constantly being challenged by criminal activities of cyber criminals. The major effect of an increase in cyber crime is that individuals using the Internet feel less safe using this medium for electronic commerce. Consumers fear that hackers will intercept their personal information and commit fraud crimes. Uncertainty in consumer confidence in the electronic market would affect global commerce and consumer privacy.
Knowledge is Power
There are ways to protect your personal information. The best way is to be aware of your PII, personal identifiable information. The loss of your identity is a serious issue and it could cost you time and money to regain your identity.
Here are 3 quick steps to protect your PII from cyber criminals.
1. Protect your wallet and purse by only carrying one piece of (PII) personal identifiable information.
• Don't carry your Social Security card or the cards of your children or spouse in your wallet or purse. Normal daily activities do not deem it necessary to carry these items. Your Social Security card is one of the main sources identity thieves use to obtain your personal identifiable information.
• If your Social Security number is on your health insurance card, remove that from your wallet or purse as well.
2. Keep copies of information documents with your (PII) in a safe place. These documents would include credit card information, bank accounts and any document that can be used to identify yourself.
3. Never give your Social Security number to someone without knowing the recipient. If asked for your Social Security number, always ask the question why. And if they don't need it, don't feel obligated to provide it. Ask if there is some other information you can give them in lieu of this important personal information.
These are 3 steps that can help you and your family defend against Identity Theft.
Identity theft is a serious issue that can affect your life. We can help stop identity theft with knowledge and awareness of our personal identifiable information. Stay focused and stay aware.