If you don’t already know the dangers of ID theft and the potential repercussions of not taking precautions to stop it before it occurs, here is a quick rundown of the many ways that this unfortunate crime can affect your life and the unexpected places where thieves may be lurking.
Many people attribute the rise in theft of identity over the past several years – a recent study from internet news source PC Advisor saw that in the United Kingdom, theft has increased by 69 percent between 2005 and 2006 alone – to the fact that the internet is now where an increasing number of individuals the world over do their primary communicating and consumer spending. However, you are just as likely – if not more so – to have your wallet stolen shopping at the mall or your credit card scammed by a fraudster at a cash register as you are to see your personal information stolen online.
A thief doesn’t just need to get a hold of your credit or debit card to drain your friends and ruin your credit score. Personal information as simple as your date of birth, names of family members, birth certificates and, most sensitive of all, your Social Security number are all tools used to steal identities and open up accounts in victim’s names.
Be careful about sharing your personal information with anyone, whether you are online, at a restaurant, at the mall or even a friend's house. Credit monitoring can aid in helping you watch over your financial activity so that should your identity be compromised you can be alerted to certain activity that may indicate potential fraud fast.