Not only are businesses and the government finally taking measures to stop identity theft, consumers are waking up as well.
It doesn't matter if you're the Fortune 500 banker cashing a hefty check or the teller at the front desk: everyone's personal information is valuable. The risks to businesses and major companies, even giants like Apple and Google, are pretty well-known by now. But the threat of a breach looms over everybody, regardless of occupation.
The Federal Trade Commission recently revealed that identity theft was the number one consumer concern of 2012. There were more complaints over different types of identity theft than things like fraudulent lenders and fixed gas prices. That's no fluke: it's the sign of a major threat.
Identity thieves prey on those who are most vulnerable. You may be in the process of cleaning up your lives, but someone may want to clean up on you by stealing your valuable private information.
As we learned from Hurricane Katrina, one of the most despicable side effects of a natural disaster is the massive increase in reported cases of identity theft in the affected areas. Thieves take advantage of those who are vulnerable, and those who have suffered flooding, wind damage and the effects of the storm are more vulnerable than ever. Imagine how devastating it would it be to apply for a line of credit to help your family recover from the storm only to find out that your entire net worth now belongs to a thief.
Every dollar counts, now more than ever, as the government searches for ways to wisely spend our money. It’s dismaying to learn that an audit report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has found that the impact of identity theft on tax administration is significantly greater than the amount the IRS detects and prevents. Even worse, the “IRS uses little of the data from identity theft cases…to detect and prevent future tax refund fraud” according to Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.
The IRS is detecting far fewer fake tax returns than are actually falsely filed. 938,700 were detected in 2011. On the other hand, TIGTA identified 1.5M additional undetected tax returns in 2011 with potentially fraudulent tax refunds totaling in excess of $5.2B.
The study predicted that the IRS stands to lose $21B in revenue over the next 5 years with new fraud controls, or $26B without the new controls.
Fraud Expert John Sileo discusses why your child is 51X more likely to become a victim of ID Theft on Fox Business.
Why are our kids, the very people we most want to protect, so vulnerable to identity theft? Because they have unused, unblemished credit profiles. According to Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab, 10.2% of the children in a recent report had someone else using their Social Security numbers. That figure is 51 times higher than the rate for adults of the same population.
Thieves steal a child’s identity early on, nurture it until they have a solid credit score, and then abuse and discard it. If it’s not discovered in time, fraudulent use of your child’s identity could mean the loss of educational and job opportunities and starting off adulthood at a serious disadvantage with someone else’s bad credit in her name.