Identity Theft and Fraud
Did you know that approximately 15 million people become victims of identity theft every year? As a matter of fact, an identity is stolen every two seconds in the United States – making this act the fastest growing crime in the U.S. There are also many types of identity theft. Don’t be a victim or the cause of identity theft and fraud.
Identity Theft – Know the Facts
- In 2009, Identity theft was the #1 consumer fraud report to the FTC. It is reported that approximately 9 million Americans have their identity stolen every year.
- Identity theft is one of the quickest growing crimes in the United States, costing victims nearly $5 billion a year.
- The ITRC Reported that there were close to 26% known breaches that occurred in 2009 ( an increase of 46% from 2008).
- According to Ernst & Young’s 2009 Global Information Security Survey, 85% of executives stated damage to brand and reputation as being the biggest loss due to a breach.
- The Ponemon Institute states that a typical data breach in the U.S can cost up to $6.75 million.
Protect Yourself – 6 Tips for Identity Theft Prevention
- Be Aware of Scams - Everyone has been targeted by some sort of scam at some point in their life Be cautious of internet and telephone scams. These can be difficult to decipher, but can be damaging if you fall victim. Never provide personal information such as your birthday or address to a company or individual you don’t 100% trust. It’s simply not worth the risk.
- Check Your Credit Card Statements/Bank Statements Regularly - Be sure to monitor your credit card and bank statements frequently, for any unusual activity. You should be aware of any peculiar purchases, or credit card accounts you have not voluntarily activated. You don’t want to wind up in a situation where you are turned down for a credit report that you didn’t even apply for.
- Protect Your SIN Number - Don’t give out your SIN number unless absolutely necessary (only for tax purposes, credit or confirmation of employment.) If you are going to give out this personal information, always ask how it will be used and if it will be shared first.
- Password Protect Everything - Whether it is for your email accounts, bank accounts, or credit card accounts, a strong password is vital in preventing hackers from accessing your information. A strong password should be more than eight characters in length, and contain both capital letters and at least one numeric or other non alphabetical character. Do your best to create unique passwords for each of your accounts so that it’s never considered obvious. Never use names, birth dates, and other predictable information as password content; this provides easy access to criminals.
- Keep Anti-Virus Software Current - Ensure your computer is sufficiently protected and you have the latest firewall software installed. All virus protection programs such as spyware software should be continuously updated for guaranteed online security.
- Hire Document Destroyers to Protect Your Identity - Regardless of your company size, to protect and secure the identity of your business, employees, and customers, it is essential to start a shredding program at your place of business. Document Destroyers will arrive on-site at your location, where all sensitive information will be thoroughly destroyed right before your eyes. Our document shredding follows a strict chain-of-custody procedure, protecting your information throughout the shredding process. Following shredding, we’ll issue a Certificate of Destruction as additional confirmation that your information has been securely shred