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4 Reasons Identity Theft is Rising (And What to Do about It)

This summer, the whole country is experiencing a record-high heat wave. But temperatures aren’t the only thing climbing — identity theft is on the rise, too. Last week, Capital One experienced a data breach that exposed the information of more than 100 million individuals.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are 74 robberies every hour in the United States, but nearly 2,000 identity theft events. And with major data breaches like these making headlines several times a year, identity theft is one of the biggest threats Americans have to deal with.

So why is this problem getting worse, and not better? 

1. Children are more at risk than ever before. 

Recent studies show that children are even more at risk of identity theft than adults. A 2018 Child Fraud Study revealed that two thirds of child identity theft victims were even younger than eight years old. 

Children are heavily targeted and are vulnerable to identity theft for several reasons:

  • Children have a squeaky clean credit history, which makes their identity more valuable.
  • It doesn’t occur to parents to monitor their child’s credit.
  • It could take years to discover their identity has been stolen, like when they go to apply for a credit card at age 18.

This is why it’s so important to take a proactive approach in monitoring your child’s identity. With any ReliaShield Family Plan, kids are covered for free! 

2. Medical identity theft is growing.

Medical identity theft costs the healthcare industry more than $30 billion each year, according to a 2014 study by the Ponemon Institute. Patients are feeling this, too: Medical ID theft damages cost an average of $13,500 per incident to resolve.

As the healthcare industry relies increasingly on storing patient information in digital portals, hackers are finding more and more opportunities to steal valuable information. In fact, a study conducted by CSID found that 41% of healthcare organizations spend 10% or less of their IT budget on protecting patient data.

That means there are a significant number of doctors’ offices and hospitals out there without significant protection for you, making it a smart idea to find your own protection. 

3. We are sharing more about ourselves than ever.

According to Google, one in five social media accounts will get hacked at some point. So if you have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and SnapChat — chances are, one of them will get be compromised. 

Have you ever received a message from a long-time “friend” on Facebook asking you for money? Or from someone who claims to have a business idea they just know will make you rich? What about a flirty Instagram message from someone who is way out of your league?

These are just a few very common social media scams going around. We put ourselves in danger by posting hundreds of photos — millions of pieces of data — including some of our most personal information, for anyone to see and collect. 

Once a hacker accesses your personal information, they sell it on the dark web. Which brings us to another reason identity theft is rising . . .

4. Personal information is cheap.

Your identity could get sold on the dark web for a low as $1, which means identity thieves need to steal a lot of information to make a profit. Scanned pictures of driver's licenses, passports, and utility bills go for about $10-35 per document.

Their incentive to hack into your personal information is probably higher than your daily awareness about identity theft. The good news is — you can protect yourself!

Identity theft is on the rise, but we’re here to help. With ReliaShield, you’ll be monitored and protected 24/7. We work against all types of fraud, including medical identity theft, tax fraud, child identity theft, and more. 

Check out our plans today!