An estimated ten million Americans are hurt by identity theft every year. In fact, 70 percent of all complaints sent to the Federal Trade Commission in 2012 involved reports of identity theft. While anyone can be a victim of identity theft, some people are easier targets than others.
- Seniors 70 years and older: According to statistics gathered by Experian, one of the credit reporting agencies, older consumers have better credit and therefore make lucrative targets. Older Americans also have retirement savings that make attractive targets for identity thieves.
- Children: This may sound surprising, but identity thieves target children for several reasons. Children have no credit history. In addition, theft can go undetected for many years, up until victims go to apply for a student loan, credit card or vehicle after turning 18. There are an estimated 140,000 cases of child identity theft every year!
- People who use social media: Be careful about what you post online, such as your full name, address, and other personal information. These details could be used to open accounts in your name. While identity thieves may need other information, such as your Social Security number and birthday, your social media posts may be enough information to trick a bank’s customer service representative into granting access to accounts.
- People with poor network security practices: People who use weak passwords, such as “12345,” are trading their financial security for convenience.
- People who are careless with documents and mail: You should always use a shredder before throwing away important documents like bank statements. Identity thieves will sometimes go through trash cans to steal information from consumers.
Can Damage from Identity Theft Be Fixed?
Depending on the situation, it can take months or even years to repair damage done by identity theft. Victims may find they are unable to secure a mortgage, student loan, job, vehicle or apartment. The best practice for fighting against identity theft it is prevent in the first place.
Checking your credit history each year can help spot suspicious activity so it can be reported to lenders and the three credit agencies.
The Kansas City bankruptcy attorneys at The Sader Law Firm can help struggling debtors facing difficult financial situations.