Ever had a situation where someone steals your “whole life”? Yeah, I mean, you could even be in the court of law, and the person would claim you are the imposter. Funny, right? Well, I know the image is a bit wild, but yes, close cases do happen when it comes to identity theft. Many years ago, when we heard of theft, our minds raced quickly to instances of burglary, armed robbery, and the likes. Nowadays, theft is more than just burglary.
Identity Theft or Identity Fraud?
Several years ago, identity theft was less common in some parts of the world. However, identity theft statistics reveal that in 2019, over 3 million cases of identity fraud were reported in the US alone.
Before you get confused, I think it is essential to distinguish between identity theft and identity fraud. While the former is merely the stealing of one’s information, the latter involves using such stolen information to carry out fraudulent activities. Even though there is a general belief that US residents are at a higher risk of experiencing identity theft (a 50% higher chance at least), the truth remains that almost anyone can fall prey to it.
An Incredible Identity Theft Story
It is easy to believe that money is the sole reason for all identity theft crimes. However, that is not often the case, even though statistics put 2018 credit card fraud at over 35%.
In one of the crazy identity theft stories on IdentityForce, a French imposter, Frédéric Bourdin, once took on the identity of a missing teenager, living with the family for about five months before the police arrested him. If you think that is funny, this is even more shocking – when he got out of jail and while traveling to Europe, he was still claiming identities of missing teenagers across Spain and France.
So how do you protect yourself from identity theft? Here are some tips that can help you out.
Strong knowledge of what identity theft is all about is the first step you need to take. It helps you come up with better ways to protect your personal information.
This procedure may sound so obvious, but shockingly, a study reveals that less than 52% of Americans have passwords for devices they use, with about 30% believing that it is too much “stress.” If you are using passwords, try to mix them up because using just one for all devices is in no way safe.
If it feels suspicious or smells shady, please stay away, curiosity they say killed the cat. Avoid suspicious links, links you have no idea where they come from, or who the sender is. It is in your best interest to stay clear of it.
Protect Your Personal Information
If they don’t have your personal information, they cannot steal your identity. So be conscious about giving out such information and your personal details like your wallet, which, of course, contains your credit cards and other information.
Identity theft can happen to anyone, and it is not just for financial reasons. The chances of identity theft happening are higher if you are not conscious of protecting your personal information.
Experian spells out some additional tips on protecting yourself from identity theft, and I think it is worth checking out.