Gauging The True Impact of Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious concern, especially now that more and more consumers actively use the Internet on a daily basis. Those who are victims of ID theft often have to rely on governmental aid and on financial support from those closest to them as well. Identity Theft Resource Center published a study explaining how those with smaller monthly incomes are often hit the hardest when identity theft occurs.

ID Theft Is Becoming A Growing Concern

With so much of our personal information up for grabs on the Internet, it is almost a miracle that identity theft is not more prevalent. Social media platforms harvest user data–including addresses, birthdays, and so on–without being transparent as to how they share this information. Moreover, social media accounts often get hacked, giving criminals full details about our personal lives.

But a recent study by Identity Theft Resource Center goes one step further. Researchers have looked at various identity theft cases which occurred in recent years. By gathering feedback from a 300-person study group, they have noticed that low and moderate income earners are often subject to identity theft. Moreover, people in these groups are also the ones hit the hardest when this criminal activity occurs.

While there are safety nets to prevent people from going bankrupt until the matter is resolved, none of these solutions addresses the key issues. Welfare, food stamps, and financial support from friends and family are more than welcome after dealing with ID theft, but  the problem of how these criminals manage to obtain this information, and abuse it, remains.

To make matters worse, identity theft goes well beyond the financial scope of things. The study group members also mentioned how identity theft affected their employment, as they would miss work or a job opportunity. Some even lost their housing as a result of this criminal activity, which goes to show how severe these attacks can be.

What is even more disconcerting is how a lot of consumers feel confident  that identity theft will never happen to them. While there are precautions one can take, there is no absolute security on the Internet, by any means. Criminals are indiscriminate in targeting potential victims; credit scores or wealth do not factor into their choices. They just want to wreak havoc and conduct a crime, while letting someone else take the fall.

The best advice to attempt prevention of identity theft is to be more careful with sharing and storing sensitive information. Keeping important documents on a mobile device is not the most secure solution unless it is protected with a PIN or fingerprint. No information about one’s identity should be easy to obtain, by any means.  There is no reason to make life easier for criminals!

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