Thursday, May 21, 2015

Who Should Fear Identity Theft?

While it may seem like there are a lot of things to be afraid of in today's world, one of the things that people should be vigilant about is identity theft. This is a crime that does not discriminate - it can happen to anyone, regardless of personal wealth or status. Thieves that target your identity don't care how much debt you have, and they certainly aren't concerned with the status of your credit - they're simply looking for a payday wherever they can find one. It's important to understand that no matter where or who you are, it's possible for you to become the victim of this serious and devastating crime.

But I'm safe when I use the Internet!
Unfortunately, this doesn't mean much when it is possible to become a victim of identity theft based on the compromise of an outside source. Lately, many large retailers have had data breaches that have resulted in the victimization of thousands of customers who did nothing but maintain their shopping or browsing habits. It's great that you're concerned with using safe sites and keeping log in information close to the vest, but at the same time, you need to understand that it may not be  you that allows the thieves initial access. For this reason, many people choose to use some form of identity theft protection like credit monitoring services or services monitoring identity, just as an extra precaution.

How worried should I be?
If you have ever provided your personal information - credit card number, Social Security number, phone number, address, etc. - to a third party, then you should be aware that it is possible for  this information to get misused. Using safe sites and carefully filling in information can make things more secure, but there is always a chance that you could become a victim despite your best efforts. There's a difference between being concerned and being overprotective of your information. It's a safe bet that you use the Internet for something like banking or shopping, and you should not discontinue using it just because you're afraid of becoming a victim. If you've educated yourself and take some simple precautions, there's a high probability that you will not  be victimized as easily - and if you ever are, that you'll be able to catch it much more quickly than those who are not vigilant.

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