Protection Against Identity Theft
Identity theft has been identified as the fastest growing crime in the world. Just in the United States, it is estimated that more than eleven million Americans have been the victims of identity theft. The Internet has made it possible for a thief to steal the identity, account numbers, passwords and other critical information from thousands of miles away from their intended victim.
There are various ways that thieves can take your information and use it to steal from you or to commit other crimes using your identity. Keyloggersare a software program that allows the thief to track the keystrokes that the victim makes on their computer to capture passwords and other critical data. The use of these programs has gone up an amazing two hundred and fifty percent in the years between 2004 and 2006.
The cost of these crimes on businesses and even national economies is staggering. In the United States it is estimated that identity theft costs consumers and businesses fifty billion dollars a year. The United Kingdom reports that the cost of identity theft to the economy is more than three billion in the last three years and Australia has put the cost at three billion each year.
The Internet is not the only area where identity thieves can retrieve the personal information that is needed to commit this crime. Personal information is usually one of the targets of burglaries. The information that is contained in the home can be bank account information, social security numbers, credit card numbers, license numbers and much more. This information, if it is stolen, is all a thief really needs to access all of your accounts and even open more accounts under your name.
Consumer information is at the forefront of the government fight against identity theft. Keeping consumers aware of the latest techniques that are being used by identity thieves can help the consumer protect themselves. Of course, prosecuting the thieves for fraud and theft will prevent that person from committing the crime, but it does not eliminate all of the thieves who have not been caught. Consumer awareness is the best defense against this kind of crime.
Many times a consumer is not even aware that the theft has taken place until many months after the fact. Taking the time to read over credit card statements and getting an updated credit report can uncover the theft, but many consumers are not paying enough attention until it is too late.
Many people are turning to items like a (fireproof safe) built into their home to store all of the valuable documents and information that they keep in their homes. These safes must be impenetrable in your home and heavy enough to discourage the thief from simply carrying it out of the home. Having the (fireproof safe) built into the structure of your home is a good way to ensure that it will not be carried off if your home is burglarized.
A consumer must be aware of what is happening with their accounts and credit report as well. Along with storing your critical data and information in a fireproof safe, monitor your credit report. There are services that will protect your identity and warn you if anyone is attempting to use your information to obtain credit. These are a worthwhile investment for consumers, as well.