Blink. Now do it again. That’s how long it takes for identity theft to claim another victim in the U.S. More than 12 million new victims every year, a million every 30 days, one every two seconds.
There are many reasons why identity theft is the biggest single crime epidemic in history. It’s very easy to commit, to make a lot of money, and to get away with. As one notorious thief observed “if I can make $10,000 in a morning without even getting out of bed, why wouldn’t I?”
When should you give your Social Security number and when should you not? My rule on giving out my Social Security number is that I don’t do it, unless I know it’s absolutely, positively required for what I’m doing.
Companies and institutions ask for our Social Security numbers like they’re handing out a piece of candy. Unfortunately, they do a mediocre to terrible job of securing the number, depending on the industry.
Kiplinger magazine once ran a list of the 10 worst places to give out your Social Security number. Here are the places you shouldn’t give out your Social Security number:
Topping the list is any college or university. I recall when Social Security numbers were used as your student ID number and they were posted everywhere on campus. I even had a professor who posted grades outside his office by Social Security number.
The second worst place to give out your Social Security number is in the banking industry. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this one; if you want to open an account, you have no choice but to divulge the digits.
Making four separate entries on the list are hospitals, medical businesses, health insurers and …
We’ve all had the experience of answering a phone call only to hear nothing. Typically, we just hang up and shrug. But those “silent calls” are the first step in well-organized campaigns to steal identities and bank account balances. Here is how these scams work, and what you should do to protect yourself…
We’ve all been warned about protecting ourselves from identity theft, but one group of victims can’t take action to protect themselves—the dead.
College students represent a tasty target for identity thieves because they literally live online, operating in an open environment where there are multiple points of vulnerability on fairly unsecured college networks.
College students are prime targets for identity thieves. They are busy and distracted, and rarely are actively engaged in managing their credit. And they are usually required to fill out a flurry of paperwork as school begins that includes the most sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers. In addition to financial aid, enrollment forms or rental documents, many will encounter credit card applications for the first time, not to mention creation of various computer accounts and passwords that are likely to follow them around for a lifetime.
In the medical field, accurate and comprehensive patient data is critical for health professionals to provide adequate care. As medical organizations have moved their data infrastructures online, doctors and nurses are able to share information easily and quickly. While these technological developments allow for better healthcare, consumers may be more at risk due to the potential loss, theft, or sale of their personal health information
One of the main threats posed by a comprehensive medical record is medical identity theft, which occurs when someone uses an individual’s name and personal identity to fraudulently receive healthcare. In 2014, more than 2.3 million adult Americans or their close family members became medical identity theft victims, an increase of about 22 percent from the year previous….
Last weekend, TheUpshot published the most dangerous identity theft threat: the non-expert’s tendency to underestimate the magnitude of problem. The piece in question argued that the consequences of most identity theft have been exaggerated (by identity theft experts like me), and that, “only a tiny number of people exposed by leaks end up paying any costs.”
Your credit card getting in the wrong hands can spell big trouble. When your card is stolen, a complete stranger essentially has the power to put you in financial ruin with a few swipes of the card. It’s a very scary situation to be in but one that is all too common.
Tracy, a health-care worker in Kentucky, is among the victims. The thief who stole her Social Security number opened several new cards in her name last year, racking up $1,500 in purchases and pushing one account past its credit limit. Another debt, owed to an online retailer, was sent to collections.
The catch? Tracy, who asked that her last name be withheld for privacy concerns, wasn’t victimized by some nameless, faceless hacker.
Her husband was the culprit.
“He knew my birthday. He had my Social Security number. He even had a copy of my driver’s license stored on his computer…”