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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stealing someone’s identity can be easy

This morning I was looking through my medical records from about 1988 to 1992, which is the time I served in the military. Not only did I find what I was looking for, but I found the social security numbers of every doctor who treated me during that time.

How easy would it be for me to take those social security numbers and get a credit card or do some other form of identity theft? Even as careful as some of us are today; it’s easy to find certain information if you know where to look and what you’re looking for.

identity theft chartIdentity theft is all over the place. I’ve recently come across a couple of blogs that spoke about someone stealing their online identity and spamming blogs with content using the innocent bloggers information. One lovely blogger went to a site that she reads on a regular basis and was shocked to see her picture plastered all over a post in association with the word SPAM. Needless to say, she was embarrassed even though she hadn’t left the spam comments. 

*Chart is from FTC.gov.

I discovered some statistics about identity theft and if you do a search you’ll be able to find even more information*:

  • According to a 2009 study by Javelin Strategy and Research, 1 in every 10 United States consumers have already experienced identity theft.
  • I was surprised to discover that 7 percent of identity theft victims had their information stolen for medical identity theft.
  • A lot of people (38 to 48 percent) find out their identity has been stolen within three months, but 9 to 18 percent don’t discover it until four or more years later, according to a 2004 Identity Theft Resource Center Aftermath Study.

*This information was taken from SpendOnLife.com.

Although I had a comedic moment of thought regarding what I would do with the found social security numbers, I’ve put the records that contain them away and know that it’s sensitive information that should not be shared. Hopefully, other individuals will think of the damage they can do to someone’s life before they steal someone’s identity.

Do you do anything specific to protect your identity?

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