In this article I am going to talk about identity theft – a topic that affects millions of people worldwide each year. In this article, I will break down what identity theft is, provide some shocking annual statistics, share real-world examples of those affected, and provide practical tips on how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Identity theft is a crime that can happen to anyone, anywhere in the world. It’s the unauthorized use of someone else’s personal information for financial gain. This can include stealing credit card information, using someone’s social security number to open accounts, or even taking out loans in another person’s name. The consequences of identity theft can be devastating, both financially and emotionally.
Statistics show that identity theft is on the rise, with an estimated 33% increase in reported cases from 2019 to 2020. In the United States alone, identity theft affected over 1.3 million people in 2020, with a total loss of over $3.3 billion.
Real-world examples of identity theft are all too common. Here are some recent examples:
- In 2021, a woman in the UK had her identity stolen by scammers who used her personal information to claim a fraudulent tax refund. The victim only discovered the fraud when she received a letter from the tax authorities, demanding repayment of the refund.
- In 2020, a man in the United States had his identity stolen by a hacker who gained access to his bank account and drained it of all funds. The hacker also applied for credit cards in the victim’s name, leaving him with a significant amount of debt to repay.
- In 2019, a family in Australia had their identities stolen by a criminal gang who used their personal information to open bank accounts, take out loans, and purchase luxury items. The family only discovered the fraud when they received a bill for a car they had never purchased.
- In 2019, a family in Canada had their identities stolen by a group of fraudsters who used their personal information to apply for government benefits and open bank accounts. The family only discovered the fraud when they received a notice from the government stating they were receiving benefits they never applied for.
The scary thing about identity theft is how easy it can be to steal someone’s personal information. Hackers can obtain this information by hacking into databases, phishing scams, or even stealing mail from a mailbox.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from identity theft? Here are some tips:
- Keep your personal information private. This means not sharing your social security number, date of birth, or other personal information with strangers online or over the phone.
- Monitor your credit report regularly. Check for any suspicious activity, such as credit inquiries or accounts you did not open.
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication on all your accounts. This makes it harder for hackers to gain access to your accounts.
- Be wary of phishing scams. Don’t click on links in emails or text messages from unknown senders, and don’t give out personal information unless you’re certain it’s a legitimate request.
- Shred any documents containing personal information before throwing them away. This includes credit card statements, bank statements, and any other documents with personal information on them.
If you’re ever concerned that your identity has been stolen, contact our privacy care team using the contact us section in the Incognito app. One of our experts will be able to advise you on what steps to take next. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your personal information.
Sending you the best regards,
Incognito Privacy Care Team