The Growing Identity Theft Problem

It’s a huge problem, because of the vast number of victims, which has increased as more and more business and communication is conducted online, especially because of the pandemic. The scammers use all kinds of techniques to get your information directly from you through personal phone calls, texts, and emails; thefts from your mail or wallet; and skimming devices when you make a purchase at a store or gas station. But the biggest threat now are the data breaches of major companies which reveal the personal information of millions of people at one shot. Once the thieves have this data, they share it on a vast black market for stolen data. It has become its own industry — the buying and selling of personal data, including credit card information, and the losses that result are HUGE!

For example, in 2019, 13 million consumers were victims and lost $3.5 billion in out-of-pocket costs, according to consulting firm Javelin Strategy & Research, cited in report on Experian.[1] Another survey reported by Allstate Insurance indicated that the millions of Americans victimized by identity theft has increased about 16% each year.[2] And the potential for theft is even greater from the data breaches. For example, in one case, hackers stole the private Social Security information of nearly 80% of working Americans, and other data breaches of private companies and government agencies have affected billions of individuals, as discussed further in the next chapter. These big data dumps don’t mean that your personal information will be used, but other reports suggest that the data of at least 1 in 10 Americans has been used to scam them or scam others.

Unfortunately, once your personal identity information is stolen and used, it can cost hundreds of dollars and victims can spend many days repairing their good name and credit record. Otherwise, with a damaged record, you can experience numerous difficulties from losing out on job opportunities to being unable to get loans for housing or cards because of negative information on your credit report. And some victims may even get arrested, if a thief commits a crime in their name.

[1] Marianne Hayes, “20 Types of Identity Theft and Fraud,” Experian.com, September 29, 2020. https://www.experiena.com/blogs/ask-experian/20-types-of-identity-theft-and-fraud

[2] “A Step-by-Step Guide to Identity Theft,” Allstate Identity Protection, https://www.allstateidentityprotection.com/content-hub/how-does-identity-theft-work

The author is internationally published author and film producer, Gini Graham Scott, PhD, who has published over 200 books, 50 for traditional publishers and 150 for her own company Changemakers Publishing, specializing in books on self-help, popular business, and social issues. She is the author of The Big Con: Scams Targeting Writers, the Victims, and How to Avoid Becoming a Victim, and she is working on a new book on different types of scams: I Was Scammed. Other recent books include: What Type of Dog Are You? and The New American Middle Ages, published by Waterside Productions. She has written and executive produced 14 feature films and documentaries, featured on the www.changemakersproductionsfilms.com website. She also writes books and scripts for clients. Her website for writing is at www.changemakerspublishingandwriting.com.

For more information or to set up an interview, contact:

Karen Andrews

Executive Assistant to Gini Graham Scott

Changemakers Publishing and Writing

Lafayette, CA 94549 . (925) 385–0608

changemakers@pacbell.net

www.changemakerspublishingandwriting.com

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