Take a look at this Washington Post article on ID Theft and tell me it doesn’t make you a little paranoid.
I wasn’t surprised that identity theft happens to 11.1 million victims a year for a total of $54 billion. I wasn’t surprised that 55% of identity theft victims will never know how it happened. I wasn’t even that surprised that 18-24 year olds were hit the hardest since they take the longest to catch on (132 days on average) and share much more about themselves online than we old folks do.
I was surprised how easy it is to find out who someone is so you can steal their identity.
According to this article, most people can be tracked down by simply knowing their sex, zip code, and date of birth. That’s creepy. Especially since all of you know my sex, my general location, and my general age…hmmm. I will now be skipping any Happy Birthday posts I had in mind. 🙂
Please keep yourself safe. At the very least, take a look at your accounts and credit reports on a regular basis and sign up for the best identity theft protection. You are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three main bureaus – Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. I use the official site: Annualcreditreport.com. Since all three companies list the similar information, space out your reports every four months in order to maximize the number of times you can check on your status.
If you want to be really up to date on what’s going on with your credit reports, you can even choose to sign up for a credit report monitoring service. Fees may apply but it’s an option for those that may not remember to check regularly.
How about you? Ever had your identity stolen? If so, what did you have to do to get everything straightened out?