According to Identity Theft Info.com, Approximately 15 million United States residents have their identities used fraudulently each year, with financial losses totaling upwards of $50 billion. On a case-by-case basis, that means approximately 7% of all adults have their identities misused, with each instance resulting in approximately $3,500 in losses.
If your identity is stolen, on average you will spend over 40 hours and over $1,500 to recover and restore your information.
Some clues that your identity has been stolen:
- Errors or charges that are not yours on credit card statements.
- Billing statements are missing or don’t show up.
- New accounts are opened in your name.
- Debt collectors call about debts that are not yours.
- Calls or mail about accounts in your minor child’s name.
- Order a credit report annually.
- Pay your bills online using a secure site if that service is available.
- Check and verify all charges on credit card statements.
- Don’t put outgoing mail, especially bill payments, in personal curbside mail boxes.
- Keep important documents in a safe.
- Don’t travel with all your credit cards, only take what you need.
- Buy a shredder and use it.
- The IRS will never call you to ask for money.
- Create passwords or PIN numbers out of a random mix of letters and numbers.
- Limit information on social media.
- Don’t give out your financial or personal information over the phone or Internet unless your know the source.
- Don’t open emails from people you don’t know.
- Keep your computer’s operating system, browser, and security up to date.
- Use anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, and a firewall.