The Hazards of Identity Theft
It is very easy for criminals to obtain the information needed to steal an identity. Social security numbers (SSNs), in particular, readily allow someone to steal an identity and are easily obtainable. Non-social security administration uses of SSNs are not prohibited by law, which means SSNs are used as identification and account numbers by many entities — insurance companies, universities, cable television companies, military identification, banks, securities brokerage companies, and more. In about a dozen states, the SSN is even used to generate the driver’s license number, making it easy for a criminal to decode an SSN from a stolen I.D.
SSNs are not the only way to steal someone’s identity. Publicly available information, like anything that can be found on Facebook or Twitter, can also compromise a person’s identity. With just a few clicks, a criminal could easily discover the personal information needed to break into an email or online banking account.
In Baltimore and across the nation, law enforcement agencies do not investigate identity theft crimes. There’s simply too much identity fraud occurring for them to handle all of the cases — leaving the victim in charge. A recent survey found the average amount of time spent by victims to regain their financial health was 175 hours. Those cases had dragged on for an average of two years, with many taking more than four years to be resolved.
Identity theft can occur in several ways, but primary methods include physical theft of sensitive documents, dishonest employees, Internet hacking, and human error. The best way to protect yourself or your business against a data breach is to have proper document filing, handling, and disposal practices in place to prevent something like this from ever happening. Make sure you, your family, and your employees and co-workers never waiver in following these practices to a T.
Baltimore Document Shredding Can Help Protect You and Your Business from Identity Theft!
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