(This post was updated June 5, 2017)
Here’s The Truth: No One Is Fully Protected from Identity Theft
The Internet is now an integral part of our lives.
Paying your bills, filing your taxes, applying to jobs — these are all things many of us have to do online, which provides convenience but can also increase our risk for identity theft.
At this point, it’s nearly impossible to prevent your personal information from showing up on the web. Standard security measures like passwords and two-step verification can never completely protect you from an online cyber hack of your private accounts and data.
Even Big Companies with Strict Security Policies Can Get Hacked
In the first half of 2017 alone, major companies across the nation faced massive security breaches, including:
- Arby’s — 335,000 credit and debit cards were exposed due to malware installed on its point of sale system.
- America’s Job Link Alliance — The names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of 2.1 million job seekers in 10 states was stolen by a hacker.
- Chipotle Mexican Grill — Though the exact number has yet to be disclosed, the payment processing systems in “most” Chipotle’s locations were infected with malware that captured card numbers, expiration dates and internal verification code, as well as some cardholder names.
- The IRS Data Retrieval Tool — Hackers breached the IRS’s Data Retrieval Tool that parents use to transfer financial information for their kids for the FAFSA to file for financial aid, putting the information of 100,000 people at risk.
These incidents — which have already affected millions of consumers nationwide — make it clear that no one is immune to data breaches.
Government Agencies Have Limited Resources To Help Cyber Attack Victims
The Internal Revenue Service considers identity theft one of the fastest-growing crimes nationwide. While the IRS provides tips and guidelines for taxpayers to protect their records, even they have neglected to notify people when they become victims of identity theft crimes.
A report revealed that the IRS failed to notify approximately 1 million taxpayers in the U.S. that their Social Security numbers were stolen by undocumented immigrants.
When someone steals your identity, it can be confusing to know which government agency or law enforcement branch to turn to. Local police might not be able to help much and often the FBI is focused on bigger, more high-profile cases than looking into each individual complaint of cyber hacking.
The number of identity-theft complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission has risen dramatically in the last 15 years. In 2000, a little over 30,000 consumers filed identity theft complaints. By 2015, that number had skyrocketed to almost half a million per year, due in part to the increase in tax-related incidents and fraud.
Despite Prevention Efforts, Hackers Will Always Find a Way In
If the biggest corporations and the government themselves can’t fully prevent identity theft, it’s a strong indication that online thieves continue to be one step ahead of the game.
Even as security systems become more sophisticated and law enforcement works harder to crack cyber crimes, hackers continue to steal users’ personal data.
Hackers are still making headlines daily, targeting everyone from organizations like the Democratic National Committee, well-known celebrities and also breaching election systems in Illinois and Arizona.
Presently, no one is exempt from being at risk for identity theft.
However, you can take steps to safeguard your financial accounts and personal information with the aid of our comprehensive Identity Restoration and Recovery Services.
Don’t make it easy for hackers and online thieves to steal your identity.
Are you covered for identity theft?