October is recognized for many as a month of celebrating all things horror-themed. The temperature drops off and the leaves fall, setting the scene to enjoy horror movies, pumpkin carving, and candy.
Even though this Halloween will be much different than years past, there’s no better time to keep in line with the horror theme and present a topic that is equally as frightening: identity theft.
Every year, thousands of people are affected by identity theft. Let’s take a look at some scary identity theft statistics.
1. Identity scams were the most reported scam in the U.S. in 2019
In 2019, the FTC Consumer Sentinel Data Book revealed that identity fraud accounted for the largest share of fraud reports to the FTC, contributing 20.3% of all reported claims last year.
The FTC also noted that there was a 46% increase in identity theft from 2018-2019.
2. Social media users are at high risk for ID theft
Social media is an excellent tool to maintain connections with friends and family near and far. In this pandemic, it is useful, seeing as socialization is limited and traveling isn’t recommended.
However, there are some risks associated with being an active social media user. One of which, is that it makes you particularly vulnerable to identity theft. Javelin Strategy reported that individuals who are active on social media had a 30% higher risk of being a fraud victim than those who weren’t active.
Social media users are typically targeted due to a lack of privacy settings. Posting publicly about private information (your birthday, your age, where you live, etc) leaves the potential for fraudsters to use your valuable information to their advantage. Review your social media security settings to ensure your profile is only visible to friends and don’t accept requests from those who you don’t know.
3. Children are often victims of identity fraud
It’s unfortunate, but 1 million children were victims of identity theft in 2017 according to Javelin Strategy and Research. In 2019 alone, the FTC reported that 14,000 identity theft victims were under the age of 19.
Typically, identity theft is considered an “adult” problem, but children are often victims because they are a “blank slate” and the crime will often go months without notice. Some tips to combat this include:
- Keep all of your child’s personal documents out of sight by locking them in a secure location and password-protect your electronics
- Keep an eye out for red flags. Be wary if there are collection calls, credit card statement,s or jury requests in your child’s name
- Don’t overshare details and try to avoid sharing your child’s Social Security number unless absolutely necessary
4. Most small businesses store private information that could easily be exposed
Over 30% of small businesses don’t invest in cyber risk mitigation, believing that they aren’t at risk of an attack. The problem is, small businesses are frequently targeted and victims of a data breach. Additionally, 60% of small businesses that are hit with data breaches go out of business within six months of the attack.
Document Destruction: Your First Line of Defense
Securely destroying your confidential documents helps protect you, your coworkers, and clients from a data breach.
Safeshred has been providing secure shredding services for over 20 years.
Contact us today to find out more about the services we offer.