It should come as no surprise that identify theft is out of control with more than 9 million Americans falling victim EACH YEAR. If you carry your credit card and driver’s license, make purchases online, or simply buy lunch with a debit card, you are putting yourself at risk for identity theft. Unfortunately, fewer than one in 700 identify crimes lead to an arrest.
No doubt you have heard about the theft of millions of credit and debit card numbers as well as personal information from the data bases of Target, Michaels, Neiman Marcus, Walgreens, Nordstrom, Zappos.com, Choicepoint, Lexis Nexis, DSW Show Warehouse, TJ Maxx, HSBC, and Bank of America. Data hackers are operating more like a business with sophisticated networks of criminals who are hawking our identities. Criminals are looking to get the maximum yield of monetizable data and the retail industry is an easy target. Once the hackers have your information, they either use it themselves or sell to other thieves. With your personal information, they have access to your credit history. If you have high credit scores, criminals will then use your information to open new bank accounts, take out mortgages and other large loans, as well as new credit cards. Victims are unaware of these new accounts until the creditor seeks overdue payments. Read the rest of this entry »