Aug 23, 2013 Dave King
Identity theft continues to be one of the most devastating and widespread crimes in the United States, with the Federal Trade Commission receiving a higher volume of complaints related to this issue than any other. What's more, economists have stated that better ID verification and data security standards could be the best ways to boost the financial recovery, as the crime has hindered growth substantially in recent years.
Certain demographics are more at risk of victimization than others, including adolescents, college students, medical patients and underbanked households. Additionally, smaller businesses seem to be the growing target of identity thieves across the nation, as the criminals take advantage of fewer ID verification and data protection protocols among these firms.
Organizations need to launch serious initiatives to increase awareness of identity theft among patrons, employees and vendors. By creating a team that understands how to reduce the sting of the crime, financial losses due to identity theft might begin to decrease.
What are the benefits of monitoring?
WUSA9, a Washington, D.C.-based CBS affiliate, recently reported that some consumers and businesses are beginning to invest in identity monitoring solutions to try and minimize the risk of theft. As many of the biggest, most damaging instances of identity theft are those that last longest, monitoring credit scores, accounts and other areas where personal information might be stored is essential.
According to the news provider, consumers are often the parties who take the longest to realize that their identities have been compromised. As a result, some businesses have started to offer monitoring services and tools that will keep track of new lines of credit opened, damages to credit scores that are relatively unexplained and other information that is indicative of theft.
The source interviewed a local resident about her experience with identity theft.
"To this day, I don't really know what happened," Julie Herron told the news provider. "I suspect, someone got ahold of a piece of paper from my garbage, a piece of mail with my name, my address, my social on it, something like that. It was an $1,800 line of credit that was opened in my name and [the criminals] bought some giant computer monitor with that. And it had a shipping address and everything."
WUSA9 explained that the real fight begins once the theft is recognized by the business or consumer, and that such high dollar amounts need to be pushed toward repair and reconciliation.
Instead, small business owners, as well as consumers and executives in other organizations, can invest in better ID verification and monitoring solutions to reduce the risks.
College students on the lookout
The Tucson Citizen recently reported that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has put out a special consumer alert to new college students that involves identity protection recommendations. This demographic has been known as one of the most at risk of losing their identities to criminals, and must be on the lookout for dangerous situations.
Kim States, the president of the BBB, explained how ruthless thieves can be.
"Identity thieves don't care if you're a struggling student and don't have a penny to your name; sometimes all they want is to exploit your clean credit record," States explained, according to the source. "Young adults that establish good habits for monitoring and detecting fraud are laying a path that will help create a healthy financial road for the rest of their lives."
Businesses that operate in college towns should also take the time to refine ID verification standards in light of the soon-to-begin school year. By protecting consumers' identities and personal information, companies can avoid the substantial damages that follow the uncovering of a major identity theft ring.