The good news is identity theft over the past few years has decreased. The bad news is it remains the number one consumer complaint and has remained so for the past twelve years.
There’s plenty of information floating around with regards to this crime as well as a number of myths which can easily have you going in the wrong way.
1. Protecting Your Social Security Identification Number Is All You Need
This is on the local and national news quite a lot. More than a few experts may tell you this is all you need to protect yourself against identity theft. Unfortunately that is not the case. The fact of the matter is identity thieves can steal your personal information in a number of different ways without the need to swipe your social security number. Among them is shoulder surfing, skimming, and going through your trash commonly known as dumpster diving.
2. Any Fraudulent Charges Are Your Responsibility
Do not allow anybody to force you into paying anything if you were the victim of identity theft. It is not your responsibility to pay any fraudulent charges thieves have put on your account. You will discover debt collectors do not care about that. They just want their money. That’s fine as long as you keep in mind that you are not the one who has to pay it.
3. It Will Not Happen To Me
Famous last words. No doubt at one time or another many people who were victimized said the exact same thing. Identity theft spares no one. While it may be on the decline eight million people last year still had their identities stolen. Considering that the number usually hover around ten million as well as the alarming number of ways thieves can pilfer your information and there is little doubt identity theft can happen to you.
4. Most Identity Thieves Get Caught
Since law enforcements and financial institutions have been more aggressive in dealing with identity theft you figure the arrest rate would be pretty good. Think again. According to studies done by the Gartner Group roughly 1 out of 700 people ever gets caught. Yes you may hear how authorities have cracked a major ring. While this is true the overwhelming majority of thefts go unreported let alone anyone getting apprehended.
5. Most Identity Thieves Are People You Have Never Met
Not true and this in many ways is what makes identity theft the epidemic that it is. Most thieves are someone the victim knows. A neighbor, friend, coworker, but mostly a family member. This should also give you a good indication as to why most identity thieves do not get arrested. As bad as the crime is many victims cannot even begin to bring themselves to have one of their relatives thrown in jail regardless of what they did.