Identity theft - the acquisition and use of a person's private identifying information, in order to commit identity fraud (illegal activities in the stolen person's name), affected 8.1 million Americans in 2010.
...This, according to Washington Post article, "The Color of Money: Identity-theft statistics look better, but you still don't want to be one", by Michelle Singletary.
This figure is 28% less than 2009's figure of 10.4 million Americans.
Although losses from identify fraud decreased to US $37 billion from US $56 billion in 2009, it is still a matter of grave concern, as according to the above article, an American, on average, pays out US $631, as a result of being defrauded.
The statistics above, refer to Americans, but identity theft and frauds affects everyone.
Identity theft and fraud not only put your assets and property at risk, they damage your good reputation and that of your business.
Your first line of defense against identity theft/fraud is to ensure that you keep personal information private and become very selective about disclosing personally identifying information online and offline.
So simple things such as:
1) Shredding credit card statements and bills that you no longer need, before throwing them in the garbage
2) Not leaving personal information online on social networks and on sites that don't have valid privacy seals that indicate that the vendor has gone the extra mile to keep your personal information, private
3) Not giving bank card pins to anyone, including members of your family
4) Paying close attention to bank and credit card statements and immediately reporting any discrepancies
5) Not giving credit and debit card information on the telephone...
...are all great first steps to take in protecting your identity online and offline.
However, you can go a bit further.
Since you, personally, can't keep track of the thousands of websites that may contain your personal information, or of hackers who may have accessed some of these websites, due to their poor security policies, there is software that will do all this for you!
IdentityHawk offers a comprehensive identity theft solution that helps you to quickly detect and defend yourself from identity theft attacks...
...It does so in a 3-step process, by:
1) Giving you an Identity Health Score - an up-to-the-minute assessment of your current identity theft risk, indicating how vulnerable you are to identity theft.
2) Conducting Information Monitoring. IdentityHawk analyzes billions of public and "black market chat room" records to detect potential threats to your identity.
3) Giving you Immediate Alerts - text/email messages that are sent to you, the minute suspicious event takes place, so that you can take corrective action.
....Thus helping you to safeguard your assets, properties, and your/your business's good name.
So prevent yourself from becoming the next victim of identity theft /fraud. Follow the above tips and use IdentityHawk, to ensure your complete identity theft protection online and offline.
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1) Identity theft and identity fraud definitions, Wikipedia.org, accessed April 25, 2011
2) Article, "The Color of Money: Identity-theft statistics look better, but you still don't want to be one" by Michelle Singletary, Personal Finance Columnist, The Washington Post, February 9,2011