Identity theft is a very serious problem across the planet. It is the fastest growing type of crime in North America and it is affecting thousands of people every day. It is also one of the most preventable types of crimes because so much can be done to keep you from being a victim. You can prevent car jacking by locking your doors, but that is all you can do. With identity theft, there are literally dozens of ways to keep yourself from losing your identity to a thief.
The problem may be that people do not understand how widespread the problem is or how much it has affected economies across the planet. Here are some statistics to show you just how bad identity theft is and how much it can hurt your credit and the economy.
In 2006, identity fraud cost the United States $15.6 billion In 2006, the average fraud per person was $1,882. In 2003, only 15 percent of victims found out that they were hit with identity theft because of the proactive actions taken by a business. The average time it takes for a victim to resolve the problems created by identity theft is 330 hours. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of identity thieves use the information they obtain to get a credit card in the victim’s name. The emotional impact of identity theft has been found to be similar to violet crime.
A significant example of how bad identity theft can get for a person comes from a Ms. Brown who told a U.S. Senate Committee Hearing that one person impersonated her and did the following:
Bought $50,000 in goods and services
Completely destroyed her credit rating.
Engaged in drug trafficking in Ms. Brown’s name.
Had a warrant put out for her arrest in Ms. Brown’s name
Created a prison record in Ms. Brown’s name
Was booked into prison under Ms. Brown’s name.
Elsewhere in the world, there is significant damage caused by identity theft. In Australia, identity theft costs about AUS$4 billion per year. In the United Kingdom, identity theft costs the economy of the UK 1.2 billion Pounds each year.
Identity theft is a serious problem that more people need to be aware of. It can not only cost you your credit rating, it can ruin your life. Like Ms. Brown who was nearly arrested because someone was committing crime in her name, you could find that losing your identity is not as simple as a lower credit rating. You have to take time to explain to companies you did not buy from them. You have to have your credit errors repaired and that can take months, and you have to ensure that the identity thief is caught so that they don’t keep using your credit. It is much easier to be proactive and not allow yourself to become a victim of identity theft. It is easier than you think to stop identity theft in its tracks.
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