This is a guest post by Michele. You can learn more about her at the end of the post.
Identity theft is a risk that you face on a daily basis provided that you own a credit card and do business online. Every time you purchase an item online, you expose yourself to this menace. Today, identity theft has been identified as one of the fastest growing crimes in the world and the numbers keep on growing almost on a daily basis. We are all experts when it comes to identity theft not by choice but circumstances. Truth is told, with identity theft, the odds are that: you, your friend or your family member has been a victim of the same.
In as much as identity theft has grown to become one of the biggest American concerns, the subject is often at times misunderstood. We are always looking for ways to fix the problem instead of attempting to prevent identity theft. We should always remain vigilant as we attempt to prevent this. Here are a few things you need to know about identity theft otherwise known as credit card fraud.
1. Identity theft is as real as it gets
Many people think that this crime is a joke therefore most likely not going to affect them. In most cases, with identity theft, it is a matter of when and not if. A film dubbed ”Identity Thief”, which features Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, goes to show you just how pervasive this crime has got. Even with that said, there is no need to lose sleep as yet because the issue is containable.
2. Identity theft criminals will always be one step ahead of you
One thing with online fraudsters is that they are tech savvies who are always looking new ways to con people. As you think of a way to prevent one occurrence, they are already designing new ways to scam you. A report released by Avivah Litan of Gartner Group technologies revealed that less than 1 in 700 identity theft crimes lead to arrests meaning that most of the criminals normally get away with the crime. At the end of the day, we end up being left with a society filled with experienced hackers. These threats tend to evolve quickly to such an extent where before the police are able to handle one old technique, the hackers would have already moved to something new.
3. Your credit card number is not needed for the scam to go through
Contrary to what most people think, hackers do not really need your credit card to steal your identity. They are very experienced and crafty at the same time. At times, they only need one piece of information to complete the puzzle. Once they have that piece of information, they can automatically gain access to the rest of the information. Therefore, the best way to protect yourself would be to lock up your important documents in a safe or better yet in a safe place at home.
4. Personal information revealed online is often enough
As mentioned above, identity thieves only need a piece of your information to scam you. Even if they get your nonfinancial personal information, to them this is more than enough. As innocent as you may be trying to provide your personal facts on social media or any other channels, this might expose you to identity thieves. The best way of protecting yourself would be to never list your full birthdate, home address, telephone number or any other important information on any social media channel or even a job searching site.
5. Wi-Fi Hotspots can be a threat
We all can agree on just how convenient Wi-Fi hotspots can get. However, this convenience possesses a huge security risk as it can expose you to identity thieves. Always make a point of avoiding generic Wi-Fi hotspots names while in public. The biggest threat is that, once you’ve gained access to these hotspots which is often made easy, the hackers can access every bit of information they want from your phone, computer or tablet. Information such as your password, username, credit card numbers and any relevant data may be at risk.
6. Credit cards have stronger fraud protection than debit cards
You need to take note of the fact that credit card protections offered are stronger as compared to debit card protections. Ideally, the law has it that Credit cards have a set restricted amount that one is liable for at $50. On the other hand, depending on when you report a debit card theft, the card holder is liable for $50 up to the full amount.
7. Military members are highly susceptible
The military men and women are trained in such a way that they are conditioned to provide anything that is asked of them. Throughout their service, they are asked to provide personal information which they normally oblige. The most unfortunate thing about this is that they do carry on with this even after leaving the service. This in turn makes them susceptible to data grabbers and identity theft.
8. New account fraud is on the rise
In this form of ID theft, hackers usually breach databases and end up stealing social security numbers or any other financial information. Then they go ahead to open new accounts fraudulently using someone else’s name. This form of ID theft is currently on the rise and is responsible for nearly half of the total dollars lost to ID theft.
9. Identity theft is becoming increasingly hard to detect
The main reason as to why there is a rise in cases of ID theft is that most of these cases are becoming increasingly hard to detect. In the example of new account fraud, it is hard to detect unless you develop a habit of constantly looking at your credit card report or you use a credit monitoring system.
10. Identity theft cases are not easy to erase
As mentioned above, detecting identity theft is not easy. And when it is detected, it can take up to 33 hours or even more to resolve the case. Once that is done, the recovery phase is even longer as one can take up to months or even years before getting back to the financial state they were prior to the theft.
About the Author:
Michele is a self-motivated finance blogger. She contributes new ideas on saving money, reviews on credit cards and financial news.