Security for One of Your Most Valuable Possessions – Your IdentityBy Home Security Source Feb 12, 2010 | 10:05:00 amPosted in: DIY Safety, Personal Safety, Identity Theft Protection
Identity theft is on the rise. According to a recent study, the number of identity fraud victims increased 12 percent to 11.1 million people in 2009 and the cost of that fraud reached $54 billion.
The 2010 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research reports that most of the cost of identity fraud is borne by banks and financial institutions. Still, it can affect your ability to get credit and loans down the road and it takes victims of identity fraud an average of 21 hours to resolve the problem. More than half of victims say they filed police reports.
Much of the fraud involves opening a new account in the victim’s name and the crime is often committed by a relative, friend or acquaintance. Criminals are getting more tech savvy and gaining personal information by hacking into systems. But, the report also says that consumers are getting the message about identity fraud and are getting better at monitoring and detecting it.
Some important ways Javelin says you can help protect yourself from identity theft include:
• Protecting paper documents with personal information
• Installing antimalware on your computer
• Never respond to requests (online or on the phone) for personal or account information
• Do not access secure Web sites using public Wi-Fi
• Watch out for convincing imitations of financial institutions, credit card companies, governmental agencies or charities in the mail or on your computer.
• Don’t publish personal information on social media Web sites and that includes information like your pet’s name, or mother’s maiden name
• Monitor all of your bank and credit card accounts
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