With the world growing smaller every day because of constant advancements in communication and social media, the risk of identity theft is constantly being heightened. Also, the methods of how and areas where identity theft takes place have evolved to include a wide variety of sources. While the old-school characterization of the crime may be centered on stolen credit or debit cards or check fraud, people are having their identities being taken advantage of in unbelievable and increasingly disturbing ways.
For instance, many citizens who rely on Social Security to live have repeatedly seen their personal information made vulnerable as identity thieves target the databases of both private and government agencies.
One recent instance involved the theft of a computer and file server from the California health insurance company Medical Express. This machine happened to hold the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and medical information of more than 2,000 California residents who relied on this company to protect and help finance their health care. Aside from being exposed to identity theft, these individuals were also not informed of the theft until roughly three months after it occurred – enough time for potential thieves to seek benefits and ultimately rob these victims of the funds they so need.
Another incident affected roughly 25.6 million veterans who had their Social Security numbers, dates of birth and disability rating stolen by thieves who were looking to cash in on the hard earned benefits given to individuals who risked their life for their country. Numerous lawsuits have come about claiming that the Department of Veterans Affairs was negligent in protecting this sensitive information.
If you are the recipient of Social Security benefits, be diligent with your information and remember these three key identity protection tips to protect yourself. You may also consider enrolling in identity protection services in order to detect any potential crimes as soon as the suspicious activity appears on your credit report.