If you’re not afraid of identity theft, you might want to be. With the amount of information on you both offline and online, it’s easier than ever for hackers to get hold of sensitive data. Every year, identity theft affects about 12 million people and cost the U.S. 18 billion dollars last year alone. To get down to the nitty-gritty, every three seconds someone’s identity is stolen. Protect Your Bubble released an infographic detailing the top ten cities where identity theft is most common and tips on how to protect yourself. Even if you don’t live in these areas, that doesn’t mean you’re any safer. Take the few extra steps to ensure your information is secure.
Who’s the Most at Risk?
Miami is the number one city for identity theft with 35,914 victims. Seventy-two percent of these Floridians experience government documents and benefits fraud. New York City and Los Angeles come in at second and third with 23,297 and 18,254 victims respectively. Atlanta is next, followed by Chicago, Tampa, and Dallas. Detroit, Houston, and Philadelphia take the rear as the eighth, ninth, and tenth cities to be at risk.
Identity theft isn’t stopping any time soon. It’s already risen by ten percent from 2011 to 2012. Recently, the most common cases of identity theft have involved credit and bank fraud, and lost and stolen items.
How Do I Protect Myself?
There are several steps you can take to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft. Some tips to keep in mind include being wary of suspicious looking emails and deleting spam from your inbox. You should think twice before sending personal information, like your credit card or social security number, via email. If you’re one of the many who shop online, or already have sensitive data on your email account, setting up two-factor authentication can help prevent attackers from hacking into your account. Be sure to configure your privacy settings on social networking sites to prevent any unwanted information from leaking out.
It’s also a good idea to get antivirus software and keep it up to date. Antivirus software will help prevent and protect your devices from getting attacked. You can check out some of our top choices, like our Editors’ Choice award winners Bitdefender Antivirus Plus (2014) or Norton AntiVirus (2013), in our best antivirus software round-up.
Identity theft isn’t just an online risk; you can take offline measures to avoid identity theft as well. Shred all of your credit card statements and other financial information. Drop checks off at the post office to secure your mail.
Remember that you don’t have to be a victim of identity theft. Take the pre-emptive steps before your information is at risk to keep your mind at ease.