Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Common Victims of Identity Theft

Identity theft can happen to anyone, but there are many people and groups that are commonly targeted. These individuals are targeted for specific reasons, but it must be noted that when someone is looking to steal an identity, they are not looking for a complicated process. The simpler it is for someone to get ahold of your information, the more likely it is that theft will occur. Victims of identity theft should always remember that they are not alone, and that others are experiencing the same thing as them, especially if they fall into one of the following groups.

Users of Store Branded Credit Cards and Frequent Shoppers in Retail Locations

In the recent months, many big name retailers have been the victims of credit card breaches. Although these stores and corporations took precautions to prevent these "hacks" thieves were still able to get into the system, obtaining information of thousands of customers, credit card holders, and employees. Although these cards are in your name, it is up to the company to keep track of your account - you can check the balances and transactions, but you cannot validate the safety and security of the network as a whole. The large number of users for these types of accounts also make them targets because of their sheer size; being able to break into the database will allow thieves access to numerous accounts and copious amounts of information.

The Elderly

Many older people have access to the Internet and smartphones, making them easy targets. In many cases, these individuals are not up to date on how things work - so receiving an email asking for information and passwords or even doing something as simple as clicking on a pop-up window may allow identity theft to occur. Older people cannot always keep up with the new trends, and may think that they are simply installing updates or updating account information when in reality they are installing spyware or viruses - or even worse, giving someone their banking or personal information. After the age of 65, senior citizens rely on their Social Security number for many things, and someone asking for it over the phone or even online will not seem out of place, but it can lead to terrible things if used by the wrong people.

College Students

College age students are likely candidates for identity theft due to the sudden influx of applications and information released under their names. Many of these students are applying for financial aid, apartments, credit cards, loans, jobs... the list is endless, but it all comes down to releasing a lot of information in the span of a few months. As students send these pages out to many different companies, there is a lot of opportunity for this information to get "misplaced" or intercepted - creating the potential for identity theft. Another way that thieves get information from college age students is by sending similar forms to them at the same time that application forms are sent. Although there is no way to pinpoint exact times to send these mailers, the months when students are filling out loan and acceptance applications are prime time for this type of thievery. The envelopes will seem innocuous enough, but filling them out and sending them back will often not accomplish anything except compromising information.

In order to protect yourself from becoming a victim, it is important to first understand what it is, and then decide how to best protect against ID theft. Those in the groups outlined above are certainly not the only ones at risk, but these groups tend to be more susceptible, making them easier targets - necessitating the use of software like credit and identity monitoring services to help prevent the occurrence of identity theft, which can be learned about by visiting

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