Identity Theft Awareness Week – Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America, and it’s affecting everyone from bis businesses to private residences. According to the AARP, nearly 42 million Americans were victims of identity fraud in 2021, costing consumers $52 billion in total losses.
Identity Theft Awareness Week (Jan. 30 – Feb. 3, 2023)
To raise awareness about this alarming rate of theft, the FTC hosts Identity Theft Awareness Week offering free podcasts, webinars, Facebook Live interviews, and other events to uncover ways to avoid identity theft and how to recover if it happens to you.
Here are just some of the ways you can stay safe:
- Don’t carry around your Social Security card with you everywhere; leave it at home where no one else can see or steal it!
- Never give out any personal information over the phone or online unless you know who’s asking for it and why they need it (and even then be wary).
- Shred any and all documents that contain sensitive information.
Once an identity thief has a hold of your personal information they can use it to open credit cards and bank accounts in your name. Other times they may apply for government benefits or pay for hospital services under your name.
Without knowing the warning signs and what to look for – it can be hard to avoid the trap of scammers.
Some of the most common forms of identity theft are:
- Credit card fraud – An unauthorized user steals or duplicates the magnetic strip on a credit card, then uses it at stores where they are not known to shop
- Phone scams – Criminals call victims with threatening messages trying to get them to pay money; this is often called “phishing”
- Email scams – The criminals send emails asking for personal information through links that appear legitimate but actually direct recipients toward fraudulent websites designed specifically for collecting passwords and other sensitive data from unsuspecting users who click on those links
Shredding Services Can Help Protect You
If you need to throw away paper with your personal information on it, be sure to shred it first. Shredding services are a great investment for businesses and individuals alike. This is the only way to know for sure that you remain protected. By shredding documents containing sensitive information and protecting your personal data, you can reduce your chances of being a victim.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
- What are the Warning Signs of Identity Theft?
- What Are Identity Monitoring Services and Do You Need Them?
- Identity Fraud vs. Identity Theft: Know the Difference