Nothing puts a serious damper on holiday shopping quite like identity theft.
Identity theft is what happens when a person obtains your personal information and then uses it without your permission.
This action can result in stolen money or severely damaged credit.
Unfortunately, identity theft is a rising problem in the United States.
"With so much of our time spent online, the security of our personal information, and more importantly our identities, is being put at risk on a daily basis,” said Mark Weiner, the CMO for Centrify Corporation.
According to the results of a recently released survey by Centrify, it’s estimated that as many as one-third of Americans have been a victim of identity theft at one point or another—and a number of U.S. citizens remain completely unaware of the fact!
Of those surveyed, 1 in 10 was fortunate enough to fix the issue the same day.
1 in 5 of those persons was not as lucky. It took these hapless individuals weeks to sort through the mess created by an identity thief.
— PCMag (@PCMag) November 20, 2014
The survey results also gave some interesting news as to how victims felt they came to have an identity theft problem.
“According to our survey,” said Weiner, “Online purchases were the top reason that users thought they became victims of identity theft, underscoring the importance of having confidence in one's own online security.”
It appears that where you spend your money online, and the online security in place, can play a MAJOR role in how secure your purchases are.
— Mass.gov (@MassGov) November 21, 2014
This information could have important ramifications for the weekend ahead, which will officially usher in the Christmas shopping season.
Black Friday in particular may be at risk for some major retailers following a series of massive security breaches.
You don’t have to live in fear of identity theft.
Be mindful of where and how you spend money. Opt for cash purchases when possible.
Also, keep a close eye on your credit report, as it is often the first line of defense in spotting a serious issue and correcting it as soon as possible.