Did you know that as many as ten million people suffer from identity theft in America every year? Each one of these people loses much more than just money or their credit rating. They lose peace of mind and a sense of security. They lose their basic trust in goodness and honesty, and they might just lose it forever. With the invention of the Internet we have also seen a tremendous increase in the amount of identity theft. The Internet makes it so easy for us to share information and purchase products all over the world. It is a truly wonderful invention in almost every way, although it also creates some serious problems. Because we can share information in such a quick and easy manner we make ourselves vulnerable to scam artists. It is easy to pose as someone else and get information from trusting and naive citizens who simply don’t suspect anything.
We all fear having our home broken into but we don’t think much about identity theft on the Internet. However, the Internet is just one place that identity theft continues to affect millions. There are still hundreds of thousands of cases of mail fraud and dumpster diving identity theft. Sometimes when thieves break into a home they steal important personal papers and documents with the intent of using them to their advantage in the future. Identity theft can also be difficult to detect because thieves sometimes wait to use your information or only use it sparingly over the course of many years. Listed bellow are some truly terrifying statistics about the financial cost of identity theft:
1. Did you know that something like two hundred and thirty billion dollars are lost each year, world wide, as a result of identity theft? Two hundred and thirty billion dollars! This is much large then the GDP of most countries. Just from this statistic you can see how widespread the problem has become.
2. Almost half of businesses report that they spend an average of fifteen thousand dollars or more in costs for an identity theft case.
3. Many victims claim to forfeit something like two thousand to fifteen thousand dollars in lost wages as a result of identity theft. This could be the majority of your yearly salary! Victims also have to spend significant amounts of money to find legal help. Many families spend as much as fifteen hundred dollars doing so.
These are just a few statistics regarding identity theft and there are many, many more that would disturb you just as much. What these numbers suggest is not only how widespread the problem has become, but also just how much money is taken as a result. Identity thieves are making much more money each year than most corporations could only hope to earn. And this money doesn’t just come from the super rich or wealthy. Many poor families and individuals have their meager income considerably depleted or destroyed by identity theft. Many families also have to declare bankruptcy because of an identity theft that destroys their credit and ability to work. The impact is terrible and affects all of society, from the wealthiest to the most humble. Because the problem could affect you and those you love you need to protect yourself. Be cautious of email or phishing scams and never purchase anything online at a foreign site. Protect your mail and your garbage through careful observation and monitoring. If identity theft strikes move quickly to contact the authorities and cut off access to your income.