Id Theft Rising Out of Control
Identity theft rose nearly 50% during the period of 2007 - 2008 and
continues to be one of the fastest growing forms of crime in America.
With the recent melt down and ensuing turmoil within the financial
services industry, 2009 looks to be an even more frightening prospect
for U.S. consumers to suffer data breaches.
According to figures released by the IRTC, reported data breaches
rose 47% during 2008. When combined with a study by the Javelin
Research, an even more alarming picture of 2008 emerges according
to CNN Money.
The number of victims rose 22% to a record 9.9 million in 2008
from 8.1 million a year earlier, with about one in 23 U.S. adults
becoming victims, according to the fifth annual study by Javelin
Strategy & Research, released Monday.
To put those numbers into focus in terms of how prevalent identity
theft security breaches negatively impact U.S. consumers, a major
data research firm, Gartner Research, was recently quoted by
P.C. Magagine of an even higher number - "15 million identities are
stolen per year - or what translates into 2 per second."
What ever figure you ultimately feel comfortable in believing is
closer to reality, the simple fact that will still be remaining after
all of the research and analyis is identity theft is a growing and
serious threat to most Americans.
A threat that is not going away or will suddenly diminish.
ITRC estimates that only 2.4 percent of all the companies
breached had encryption or other strong protection methods
in use, while only 8.5 percent of reported breaches involved
surmounting password protection.
So, why transact with a business that doesn't place enough
value in you precious personal data to even utilize the most
minimal level of basic encryption or password protection?
The answer is and always has been, money. Corporations
will always be driven by revenue: either the acquisition of
or defense of from loss. Until the day comes where there's a
hefty penalty applied to these firms for not protecting your
data, you will continue to be a victim in waiting.
Why wait further? Take action immediately to gain back
some of the basic protection you assume the so called guardians
of your entrusted data would already been taking for your benefit.
Our tip for today, is to start by taking back control of your data.
Begin by shredding, using a cross cut shredder, any old financial
statements lying about the house. Next, eliminate the source of
the paper by contacting your bank and credit card companies to
request "paper less" statement delivery.
Then, make sure to order up a free copy of your credit report that
you are entitled to under the law. Diligently scrutinize your credit
profile for any accounts or suspicious transactions not authorized
by you. Also, make sure that you enroll in a credit monitoring service
through your credit card and banking institutions to pre-emptatively
catch would be identity thieves before they are able to cause major
damage to your credit resulting from attempts to open up fraudulent
accounts in your name.
Finally, take this final step which is even more important than just
credit reporting verification - conduct your own personal information
profile (PIP) investigation of your public records profile. This very
important and necessary step is vital to catch any instance of
identity theft which can exist in the over 400 public databases that
no credit reporting agency was ever designed to check.
This final step can not only save you from the potential for identity
theft and credit fraud, but also can keep you from being falsely
arrested or fired from your job due to the misdeeds of an
identity theft criminal.