The Growing Problem of Identity Theft
It seems like a topic that never leaves the headlines: identity theft and cyber-crime. As a service to our customers, we have begun to offer credit monitoring/ identity theft aid services free with many of our accounts.
Identity Theft is a Concern for Everyone
Data security has been breached at credit bureaus (Equifax), social media sites (Facebook), web service providers (Yahoo) retailers (Target), even large financial institutions, and the problem isn’t going away any time soon.
The most recent report from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics has some alarming facts:
- More than 17 million Americans are victims of identity theft each year
- 86% of victims experience fraudulent use of bank or credit card accounts
- 36% of victims report moderate or severe emotional distress
- 9 of 10 victims knew nothing of their offender before the crime.
- The average loss was over $1,000
There is more, but you get the point.
What can be done? The IRS offers these tips:
- Don’t share personal information unless absolutely necessary
- Protect your personal computers with firewalls, anti-virus software and update your security software and passwords frequently
- Check your credit report
Protecting your family and yourself can feel like a daunting task – but there is help. Credit monitoring services can make up an important part of your first line of defense. Identity Theft Aid services can help you recover if you become a victim. Whether through Generations Bank, or with another service, we encourage everyone to take steps to protect their identity and their financial well-being.