High Unemployment Leading to More Cases of Identity Theft

If you thought identity theft could not get any worse and that with all of today’s technology identity theft would simply go away, you were wrong.  In fact, technology has just made it easier for hackers to skim credit cards, run email phishing schemes, and steal personal information from business computers.  But technology is not the only thing leading to higher numbers of this crime.  The high unemployment in the United States has seen a direct correlation with more identity thefts, as criminals get more desperate to make an extra buck.

Police across the country are saying that many people are stealing social security numbers so they can use it for employment.  You may not have heard of this kind of identity theft, but it’s even more perilous to victims because it can go unnoticed for a long period of time.   Sometimes, a person wanting to get a job will use the wrong social security number on purpose and only be off by a few digits so they can say it was a mistake if they get caught.  Often, false names are also given and many employers never do serious checks to discovery that the person is using a false identity on his or her application.

With unemployment numbers around 9%, more jobless individuals are getting desperate to feed their families and earn a living and are turning to this life of crime.  It’s easier to have more anonymity with identity theft and it can even be more lucrative than other forms of crime, but the devastating effects are just as harmful, and police are cracking down on this crime with even greater vehemence.    A person guilty of identity theft can face charges of a first-degree misdemeanor but can even get hit with a felony depending on the crime and how the information was used.  The unemployed are definitely not doing themselves or society a favor by ripping other people off with stolen credit card numbers and social security numbers.

The police are trying to get the word out that they are ramping up efforts to combat identity theft and making the charges even more sever.  And those charges can get even worse if the person has committed identity theft before or if the theft was against a person older than 60 years old.  Add that a person can get slapped with illegal use of a computer and other technologies and the charges will begin to pile up.

While not having a job is no excuse for committing a crime, it is apparent that one of the greatest focuses of the country right now needs to be lowering that unemployment number.   Each individual also needs to be responsible with his or her information and a good place to start is to get some kind of identity theft protection service.  You should shred any personal documents instead of throwing them in the trash, and make sure you cancel all of those credit card offers that can fill your mailbox every day.  Even with all of today’s technology many crooks still steal identities by going through the trash and stealing people’s mail, so do everything you can to prevent that from happening.  You also need to be aware when surfing online and only buy through retailers you know you can trust and have a good BBB rating.

Jon writes articles informing the public about how they can protect themselves from identity theft with Lifelock reviews and other resources on his website.


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