4 Spooky Identity Theft Stats

On October 27th, 2020, posted in: SAFESHRED News by

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.

read more

This year has certainly been a strange one, to say the least.

This global pandemic has, understandably, caused widespread fear and uncertainty. Some have lost their jobs and are having difficulties paying their bills. Going to the grocery store is a hassle and when anyone comes within a few feet of you, you instinctually begin to back away.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who try to take advantage of a person’s vulnerability, which is why scams continue to be an ongoing concern.

Covid-19 scams have been occurring throughout the pandemic and affecting people predominantly online. With more people working from home or staying at home, internet usage has increased.

Protecting yourself online is always important and it’s also important to be aware of the current scams in order to recognize them before you get targeted by them. The Federal Trades Commission says Covid-19 scams have cost Americans over 13 million dollars this year alone. Here are some common Covid-19 scams happening online.

Tech Scams

When you’re working from home and using the internet, you’re bound to run into technical difficulties sooner or later. Many people may feel hesitant to have a stranger in their home over the fear of germs, which may lead them to do a quick Google search of their provider’s tech support line. Unfortunately, scammers are hoping that you do this. To protect yourself, make sure the company’s number you dial is a legitimate number by going on their website directly and looking on their “Contact Us” page.

“Government Issued” Online Covid-19 Tests and Fake Cures

There are many people out there who want to take a test out of fear or worry. Scammers will advertise for a Covid-19 test available to be purchased online. These are fake and should not be purchased. If you have questions about the legitimacy of a product, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides updates on available tests.

Also, there are fake products available that are marketed as being the cure for the coronavirus. These are also fake and should not be taken seriously.

Sextortion Scams

With so many turning to video chats and zoom calls, intimacy can be challenging if you are single or you are in a long-distance relationship. Always be mindful of any webcam you own and consider putting some black tape over it when it’s not in use.

In this scam scenario, the victim will receive an email with their password in the subject line. Upon opening the email, the scammer will claim that the victim’s webcam has been compromised and they’ve caught you in a moment of intimacy. They usually demand payment in bitcoin and will threaten to expose you publicly. If this happens to you, don’t meet their demands. Instead, delete the email and change all of your passwords.

Fake Small Business Loan Sites

So many small businesses are struggling to make ends meet right now. Scammers recognize this and understand that the payroll protection program and the economic Injury disaster loan processes can be confusing. Scammers will create fake websites and encourage the applicant to send a “down payment” in exchange for a government loan. The only site you should go to for a government loan is the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Physical Document Destruction: Additional Protection

Protecting yourself from scammers goes beyond protecting yourself online. Physical document destruction is an added means of protecting yourself against dumpster divers and fraudsters.

For more information, give us a call at 1-800-987-4733 or send us a message online.

read more
Live chat by BoldChat