I think we can collectively agree that none of us anticipated a global pandemic while we were surrounded by our loved ones, eagerly counting down the seconds until the clock struck midnight on December 31st. With the turn of the decade, millions of people were prepared to begin a new chapter in their lives; ready to open new doors, go cold-turkey on bad habits and manifest personal success. Alas, COVID-19 blindsided us all; causing the world as we knew it to change.
Rise in identity theft cases
And yet the American people are gradually adapting to what seems to be the new “norm” in creative ways such as working from home, finding freelance gigs and even starting their own businesses. In fact, according to Guidant Financial, there has been a 27% uptick in the number of small business owners in the past ten months. However, with the good sometimes comes the bad. Some of the recent changes have made us more vulnerable to a ferocious, ruthless, cold-blooded, vile monster that has already come for 33% of Americans… Alright, I may or may not have been watching too many horror films in quarantine; but my point is that, there has been a rapid increase in identity theft since the beginning of the pandemic. If you have Google searched statistics or updates on COVID-19, mailed out important records or perhaps discarded work documents from the comfort of your home, you could be ripe for identity theft.
The year 2020 has been a dream for people with too much time on their hands and bad intentions. Hackers have created illegal spyware that automatically downloads on your computer when you harmlessly click on what appears to be legitimate COVID-19 information (in addition, if you receive a sketchy text message or phone call about “Important COVID-19 updates” do not reply or answer the phone). These scams gives the bad guys access to your most precious information like social security numbers, your home address and credit card numbers. Hackers then sell these details on the dark web, which can ultimately cost you thousands of dollars that you might not get back. Just because you know your identity has been stolen doesn’t mean what you’ve lost is automatically reimbursed— this unfortunate and common issue is called fraud loss. A recent study by Javelin identified that there has been a 13% increase in American fraud loss this year, meaning $16.9 billion dollars have not been returned to hard working people of all classes and ages due to no fault of their own.
How to prevent identity theft
There are many forms of identity theft that affect a wide range of people; account takeover fraud, credit card fraud, driver’s license fraud, mail identity fraud, social security fraud… the list goes on. So, what can you do to avoid identity theft? Nobody expects to be a victim of this issue but being proactive is vital if you want to avoid identity theft. Purchase an anti-virus protection software, avoid saving passwords and personal information on your computer, safeguard your social security number and most importantly, shred important documents when you no longer need them. Just as the evil forces are adapting to this global crisis, so are the good ones. So, what’s the perfect answer to identify theft—DataShield. Call today to schedule your routine or one time service.
If you have become a victim of identity theft, click here to learn more about developing a recovery plan.