Three Common Causes of Identity Theft
UPDATED FOR 2022
Identity theft, which really picked up during Covid-19, is considered one of the fastest-growing crimes across the country. Identity theft stats can be truly frightening.
- 33% of Americans have experienced identity theft in their lifetime
- Someone becomes a victim of identity fraud every 14 seconds
- Identity theft cost Americans $56 billion in 2020
Many Americans, including business owners, believe that the main cause of identity theft is a result of Internet viruses or malware. Although this online breaches can be massive and widespread, many identity theft cases are actually due to the theft of physical information.
Below are three of the most common ways a person or corporate business’s identity is stolen and how you can reduce your risk of identity theft.
#1: Stolen credit cards
Stolen credit cards are possibly the most common form of identity theft. If you have lost your purse, wallet, or card somewhere, call your bank or credit card provider to either put a hold on your account or cancel the card. Do this before you begin to search public places for the card. Even if you do find your card, it’s possible that a thief could have taken your account info. It’s better to cancel your card and wait a week for a new one than to leave your card active and vulnerable.
Business owners should especially be sure to treat their credit cards with care. It’s likely you have a higher credit limit and multiple employees may have access to your card info. Make sure you and your employees are not writing down your credit card details and only those who truly need a card have one. Also, be sure you’re carefully reviewing statements on a frequent, regular basis so you can catch any discrepancies as soon as possible.
#2: Stolen mail
Your mail often contains sensitive information such as tax forms, bank account statements, and pre-approved credit cards. Thieves can use this information should you leave your mail in your mailbox for an extended period of time or fail to shred it before throwing away.
At your home, be sure to take in your mail every day if you do not have a locked mail box. Tear up any sensitive information before you throw it out to keep it safe from any thieves who may be scouring your dumpster for potential opportunities.
If you run a business, ensure that you are using scheduled shredding to keep your business’s information safe, as well as that of you clients and employees. Besides reducing your liability, regular shredding can actually improve your bottom line!
#3: Stolen information from close friends or employees
Your friends, family, and employees have the most access to your personal and sensitive information. Even if you believe your information is safe at home or filed away in the office, it’s important to keep your documents under lock and key. Perform scheduled shredding routinely in the office in order to ensure that sensitive information cannot easily be swept up by employees or visitors, whether on purpose or by accident. Professional shredding companies will also keep your scheduled shredding information safe from dumpster-divers by recycling your sensitive information in-house rather than setting bags of documents outside the door for recycling trucks.
Contact DataSafe and keep yourself safe from identity theft
Identity theft affects thousands of Americans annually. For businesses, it can lead to millions of dollars in losses. To reduce your risk of identity theft, be conscious of the information you leave around or throw away without paper shredding. Contact us today for customized shredding options. DataSafe has 35 years of experience and we know how to securely destroy your documents. Our friendly pros will get the job done efficiently and securely. Contact us today at 503-620-3423 or email@example.com.